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^X't^'"' * ^,.. «««^ »»*''"■ 






THE DANGERVILLE 
INHERITANCE 



READY SHORTLY 

THE MAULEVERER 
MURDERS : A Detective Story 

By A. C. FOX-DAVIES 
Crown 8vo. 

SECOND EDITION 

THE WINGLESS VICTORY 

By M. P. WILLCOCKS 

Crown 8vo. < 

7Ym/x.— "Such books are worth keeping 
on the shelves, even by the classics, for they 
are painted in colours that do not fade." 

Daily Telegraph,^** A novel of such 
power as should win for its author a position 
in the front rank of contemporary writers." 

SECOND EDITION 

A BOY'S MARRIAGE 

By HUGH DE SELINCOURT 
Crown 8vo. 

Evening Standard. — "Exceedingly real- 
istic . . . but does not give the impression 
that anything is expatiated upon for the 
sake of e£fect. ... A daring but sincere and 
simple book . . . likely to attract a good 
deal d* attention." 

Daily Telegraph.-^** K very proper, l<»i- 
dmate, and higmy interesting study^ of lue. 
. . . Worthily conceived and worthily exe- 
cuted* All the characters are real." 



/^/ 



THE 

DANGERVILLE 
INHERITANCE 

A DETECTIVE STORY 



BY 

A. C. FOX-DA VIES 

BARRISTER-AT-LAW 



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK : JOHN LANE COMPANY. MCMVII 



I I^ . V - VV 



r . 1 > 



lOlTo;^ 



T., 






Third Edition 



WILLIAM CLOWftS AND SOMt, UMITBD, LONOOH AMD BTTTlt. 



THE DANGERVILLE 
INHERITANCE 




DANGERVILLE 
INHERITANCE 



Chapter I 

IORD DANGERVILLE was more than 
annoyed. He picked up the letter 
M and read it a second time. The 
-^ scowl on his handsome, dissipated 
face deepened, and he cursed his son volubly 
and completely — and he was an adept at the 
habit. It seemed so utterly unreasonable. 
Here he was, an impoverished Irish Peer, ex- 
isting in a suburb of Paris on the bare ;^i50 
per annum, all that remained — and that a com- 
passionate allowance from Sam Lewis— of his 
life interest in the handsome rental of the 
Dangerville estates in Co. Meath — whilst his 
son was comparatively a wealthy man. 

Now, there is sometimes a little to be made 
— z. trifling margin of difference to be pocketed 
— ^^by breaking an entail and resettling, perhaps 
a smaller portion of the estate, and the old 
rou^s fingers had for years been itching to 

9 




The Dangerville Inheritance 

7. : h 

handle the anticipated difFerence. He had T.^ 
impatiently waited until his only son (who had /Ti,. 
been provided for to a certain extent under his ' • ;^ 
mother's marriage settlement) had attained his *^ I 
majority, hoping he would consent to join in 
breaking the entail. The son had always 
refused, and now, when it came to a formal 
decision, had refused very pointedly. There 
was no love lost between the father and son. 
There never had been. It would have been 
difficult to find any other two men who 
mutually reciprocated such a thoroughgoing 
contempt for each other as did the old Earl and 
his son, Lord Cavaiider. The father had 
soldiered, hunted, raced, gambled, drunk, and 
broken the hearts of women since his school- 
days, and now, at sixty years of age, looked the 
thoroughgoing broken-down old roui that he 
was at heart and in fact. The son, sickly and 
delicate in his childhood, had never had an 
outdoor interest in his life, disliked politics, 
collected postage stamps, and hovered on the 
brink of Holy Orders. When his father and 
mother had separated in his infancy, he had 
naturally been claimed by Lady Dangerville, 
and when her consumptive career had run its 
course to an early close, his maternal grand- 
mother had arrogated to herself his guardianship. 

lO 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

One brief but all-sufficient meeting, when, by 
arrangement. Lord Cavander had spent a week 
in the summer at a French watering-place with 
• his father, had been the extent of their subse- 
quent companionship. At the end of the week 
each detested the other whole-heartedly. 
K Unlike the majority of men who swear 
abnormally*, the habit afforded Lord Danger- 
viUe not the slightest relief to his temper, and 
his wicked old brain was soon busy hatching 
some revenge which should annoy and mortify 
his son. 

It was many days before he thought of a 
suitable plan to gain hk ends, but at last it 
suddenly dawned upon him that, under the 
settlement of the estates, each tenant for life 
had the right to charge the estate to a limit of 
ten thousand pounds in favour of his wife. The 
late Lady Dangerville had been a wealthy 
woman, and no jointure had ever been raised 
in her favour. The annual interest on 
;^ 1 0,000 would not be much inconvenience 
to Lord Cavander when he should succeed 
to the estates, but it was the greatest an- 
noyance the elder man could inflict, and he 
promptly set about putting his plan into force. 
The income, moreover, would be a welcome 

addition to his own pittance during his lifetime. 

II 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Lord Dangerville had never been fastidious 
in his amours, and the Parisian soubrette who 
for some months past had taken his minage 
under her control, was only too willing to 
become a consenting party to his plans. The 
marriage duly took place with all needful 
formalities, and Lord Dangerville lost no time 
in conveying an intimation to his solicitor and 
to his son. Lord Cavander wrote briefly and 
coldly, signifying to his father his intention to 
keep his father's marriage unknown, if possible, 
and a desire to put an end even to the sickly 
acquaintance which had languished between 
them by the agency of that occasional corre- 
spondence, which had hitherto largely consisted 
of requests for remittances on the one side and 
refusals more or less polite on the other. 

The next twelve months saw some number 
of changes in the Cavander family. Gabrielle 
Courceux, whilst complaisant enough as a 
soubrettey rapidly developed, after her marriage, 
an amazing capacity for thrift, the great national 
virtue of her countrywomen, and Lord Danger- 
ville found that, as far as he was concerned, in 
spite of his increased income, the ready money 
available for his personal dissipation was con- 
siderably less than he had enjoyed even pre- 
viously to his marriage, and an approaching 

12 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



family event seemed to afford his wife every 
excuse she needed for reducing his weekly 
pocket money to some two or three francs. 
Lord Cavander, always sickly, a few months 
after he came of age, succumbed to the con- 
sumptive tendencies which had been slowly 
making themselves apparent, bequeathing the 
whole of his property, much to the old Earl's 
disgust and annoyance, to his first cousin, who, 
on the death of Lord Cavander, became the heir 
presumptive to the Earldom of Dangerville. 

The earl lost little time in approaching 
his nephew for financial aid. The reply he 
received was plain, blunt, forcible, and dis- 
courteous. In as many words the young 
barrister, in entire ignorance of his uncle's 
marriage, and considering himself quite secure 
in the ultimate reversion of both title and 
estates, had scrawled upon a half-sheet of note- 
paper a direction to his uncle to "go to hell 
and stay there." The Earl, accustomed to 
his son's refusals, had hardly expected more 
generous treatment from his nephew. The 
application had been sent in the hope, rather 
than the expectation, that it might find favour 
or compassion, and somewhat in the spirit that 
it might bring something, and that a refusal, if 
it were a refusal, wouldn't hurt him. But the 

13 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

terms in which the reply was couched were not 
anticipated, and came as a shock to the broken- 
down old man. They rankled and rankled 
badly. Once again Lord Dangerville set his 
wits to work to think out some way of hurting 
his heir, and it was with an unholy chuckle that 
he contemplated the approaching family event, 
which, if it proved to be a son, would, the old 
Earl felt assured, afford him revenge ample to 
his purpose, the cup full and brimming over. 

A few months later three notices appeared 
in the Times upon the same day, the 26th of 
December. They were as follows : viz. amongst 
the births — 

Dangerville. — On the 20th December^ the Countess of 
Dangerville of a son and heir (Evelyn Cecil, Viscount 
Cavander). 

Amongst the marriages — 

Dangerville — Courceux. — ^On the list of January, in 
Paris, Courtenay Cecil, loth Earl of Dangerville, to 
Gabrielle, only child of the late M. Henri Courceux, of 
Paris. 

Amongst the deaths — 

Dangerville. — On the 23rd of December, in Paris, the 
Countess of Dangerville, aged 19. 

Ernest Cavander, with the recollection of 
his recent letter to his uncle, was amazed and 

14 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

furious when he read the three announcements. 
Without a moment*s hesitation, he instructed 
his solicitors to ascertain if the details were 
accurate. In ten days* time the reply of their 
agent in Paris was forwarded, stating that he 
had personally examined the register of the 
marriage, which was all in order. He had 
seen the certificates of death and burial of the 
Countess, death being certified as due to ex- 
haustion following upon confinement. The 
birth of the child had not been yet registered, 
and on making inquiries, the agent found some 
question had arisen as to the description of the 
child as Viscount Cavander, it being against 
Republican law to insert any title in a French 
official document. Lord Dangerville, pro- 
testing against its omission, had declined to 
register the birth without, the question being 
then in abeyance. As Lord Dangerville was 
leaving Paris, the matter had been allowed to 
drop. The agent had, however, verified the 
fact of the child's baptism under the names 
of Evelyn Cecil at the chapel attached to the 
English Embassy. The agent had taken upon 
himself to employ a detective, who, in Lord 
Dangerville*s absence, had called at his address 
some days previously. The return of Lord 
Dangerville had prevented any conversation 

15 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

with the servants, but the detective had heard 
a child crying, and had seen a child, plainly 
only a week or two old, leave the house in the 
arms of the nurse shortly afterwards. There 
could be no doubt, therefore, that Lady 
Dangerville had been confined, and that the 
Earl had acknowledged the child as his own 
oflTspring and as his son and heir. There 
plainly, therefore, was no help for it. The 
child's birth could not be disputed, and 
Ernest Cavander abandoned the contemplation 
of the brilliant prospects which he had seen 
opening out in front of him. Making the 
best of a bad job, he wrote a letter of con- 
gratulation to his uncle. It was a weak thing 
to have done, because it only brought in reply 
the Earl's retort that he refrained from advising 
his nephew to go to hell for the simple reason 
that he personally had no doubt whatever that 
his charming nephew was already experiencing 
the torments of the damned when thinking 
over his altered prospects. 

That was the last communication that ever 
passed between the Earl of Dangerville and any 
member of the Cavander family. 

During the next three years, every now and 
then, some mutual friend would mention having 
seen Lord Dangerville in Brussels or Paris or 

j6 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



Vienna, but at the end of that time all direct 
news ceased, and only the family lawyers were 
apprised from time to time of the movements 
of the Earl and his son and heir. Egypt and 
Algeria, with an occasional visit to Rome or 
Paris or Vienna, and so the years rolled on. 
As the time slipped by Lord Dangerville's 
name still appeared in the Peerage Books, and 
apparently he still enjoyed his impecunious 
possession of the Earldom. 

Eighteen years had passed since that memor- 
able morning on which Ernest Cavander had 
light-heartedly picked up the Times in his club, 
only to put it down a few minutes later with 
his whole future blasted and every plan put out 
of joint. But the man was not a wastrel, and 
he had pluckily settled to work at the Bar with 
no little success. The result of his labours, 
added to his own small patrimony and the 
money he had inherited from his cousin. Lord 
Cavander, had placed him in what he, as a 
bachelor, felt were comfortable circumstances. 
Some few years previously he had suddenly 
manifested a violent partiality and aptitude for 
politics, and amazed both friends and acquaint- 
ances by securing election as the Nationalist 
member for that part of the county of Meath 
where the Cavander estates were situated. His 

X7 B 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

rise in the political world had been rapid. To 
the brilliance of his nimble-witted Irish intellect 
was added the balance of mind resulting from 
his English career and university training ; and 
being wealthier, better educated, and of a far 
higher social standing than the great bulk of his 
colleagues, he had had no difficulty in making for 
himself a position in the front rank of the Irish 
Party. To all intents and purposes, though 
not the nominal figurehead, he was the actual 
leader, and the position and control he exacted 
for himself were conceded readily enough. 
Already his example was bearing fruit. From 
the Irish Party the Grovernment no longer had 
to deal with vulgar abuse or noisy demonstra- 
tion, but with well-informed and logical argu- 
ment, and with the polished speech which 
veiled the obstruction planned by a master 
mind, and carried successfully through by a 
disciplined and united Party. The members of 
the Government, writhing under this remorse- 
less opposition, intensified and doubly effective 
by reason of its orderliness, had often sighed 
for the Pre-Cavander days of disorder and 
violence, tiresome enough in their way, but for 
which remedies were known and could be 
brought into force. 

z8 



Chapter H i- 



^ * 

V 



T^HE Parliamentary Session had worn 
to its close, and the jaded members 
had dispersed — according to the 
gossip of the Press chiefly to the 
moors. As a matter of fact, many were at 
the seaside, some were Cook's tourists in 
Switzerland, but most had merely departed to 
their own provincial homes, or were visiting 
other similar establishments. 

The junior partner in Lumley, Sladen and 
St. Barbe, a well-known firm of solicitors, sat 
in his oflice, anathematizing the luck and 
circumstance which permitted both his seniors 
to be absent from Town during the sweltering 
month of August whilst he himself was tied by 
the heels to the office. Business there was 
none outside that of an ordinary character 
which arrived in the mere course of routine, 
and, equally as a matter of routine, was handed 
over to the attention of one or other of the 
managing clerks. As the junior partner re- 
marked, they knew a great deal more about 
their work than he did, which, seeing that they 
were qualified men, who had most of them 
grown grey in the service of the firm, was 

^9 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

only as it should be, and as might have been 
expected. 

The junior partner yawned, put down the 
Pall Mall GazettCy which he had brought in 
with him when returning from lunch, and let 
his eye wander to a nest of deed boxes, one 
upon the other, which stood in the corner of 
the office, each inscribed " Earl of Dangerville/' 
There was another box near at hand, but this 
had for its legend the words "Dangerville 
Trustees." His glance lingered on the boxes, 
and his thoughts unconsciously turned to the 
Earl. Speculating as to his age, he picked up 
a copy of Dod's Peerage from the table, 
and looked up the date of the Earl's birth. 
" Seventy - nine," he muttered to himself. 
" Sam Lewis has made a rare haul ; " and 
reaching for a piece of paper, he jotted some 
figures on it, and laughed with a queer little 
chuckle as he noted the result of his calculations. 
*' Moneylending pays better than lawyering." 

At that moment a clerk brought him a letter 
— sealed, registered, and addressed to the firm, 
but marked private. He turned it in his fingers 
before opening it, and noticed that it was post- 
marked from Monte Carlo. The handwriting 
he did not recognize, and as he turned it back- 
wards and forwards he speculated from whom 

20 



mm 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

it might have come. At last he opened it, and 
a number of papers dropped from the envelope. 
One was a letter, written in an unformed 
boyish handwriting and signed " Dangerville." 
It was characteristic of the writer, so it had 
better be reproduced in full. 

** Monte Carlo. 

« Sirs, 

"I am writing to inform you that 
my father, the late Earl of Dangerville, died a 
fortnight ago. I have consulted a solicitor here, 
and under his direction have obtained legal 
proofs of my father*s death and burial, which 
I enclose. I also enclose copies of the certificate 
of my father*s marriage and of my baptism. I 
was born — my father told me — a week before 
the date of my baptism. So that you will see 
I am at present only nineteen years of age. 
No doubt there must be some small sum 
belonging to my father in your hands, and 
consequently I am enclosing certain bills here 
which perhaps you will have discharged. I 
have no wish or intention to become a Ward in 
Chancery, and as I gather firom my lawyer here 
that this would be necessary before an allow- 
ance for maintenance could be paid for me 
from the estates, I have decided to do without 

9Z 



^- 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

this, and have made arrangements to earn my 
living until I come of age. Please make such 
arrangements as may be necessary to take the 
property out of the hands of Mr. Lewis, and 
to attend to it during the intervening period. 
It will save you trouble in attempting to com- 
municate with me, if I inform you that I shall 
not be living under my proper title — that I 
have not been resident in Monte Carlo for 
more than a brief period, and shall leave the 
town immediately I have posted this letter. 
You will not hear further from me until I come 
of age, when my present solicitor, Mr. Frank 
Browne of Nice, with whom you can commu- 
nicate, and who has known my father and 
myself for some years past, will be able to 
provide all the necessary identification. On your 
conduct of my affairs, the safeguarding of my 
interests, and your observance of my wish to 
be left alone for the next two years, will depend 
my decision as to whether the estate business 
subsequently remains in your hands. 

** I remain, 

** Yours faithfully, 

" Dangerville." 

The junior partner read the letter, and slowly 
began to hum a tune. 

29 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Langton,** he called presendy, and an elderly 
man came into the room. " Read this " — and 
he passed the letter across the table. **What 
ought I to Ho ? " 

The old man carefully digested the document 
before he answered — 

"Well, sir, weVe been the Dangerville 
solicitors for over a century ; and all I can tell 
you, sir, is that whatever they do is the one thing 
one would least expect. The writer must be a 
Cavander, or he wouldn't have written such an 
extraordinary letter. Of course, Mr. Ernest 
Cavander has always said he would not acknow- 
ledge the boy, and would claim both title and 
estates. We have been his solicitors up to 
now ; and if he persists in that line we shall 
need to choose which client we will retain." 

" What would you do ? " 

*^ I think I should advertise the safe receipt 
of the letter in all the Monte Carlo papers, and 
also acknowledge it to Mr. Browne ; and then 
if I were you, sir, I should wait till Mr. Lumley 
returns." 

" Which of the two clients would you choose, 
Langton ? " 

" Well, sir, Mr. Ernest can look after him- 
scl£ 1 don't say this young Lord Dangerville 
can't as well ; in fact, his letter decidedly looks 

33 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

as if he can ; but if we don*t take charge of his 
interests, who will, sir ? I think our duty is to 
the boy, sir." 

" Oh, duty be damned ! Which will pay us 
best ? " 

*' Well, sir, in this case I think our duty — 
our manifest duty — does not clash with the firm's 
best interests ; though I grant there is some 
little risk. Still, if the boy is a real Dangerville 
he will be a gentleman, and will appreciate any 
efforts we may make to smooth matters into 
conformity with the wishes he has expressed." 

** Shall we have trouble with the courts ? '* 

" No ; I think we shall have very little 
difficulty if the matter is arranged diplomatically. 
You see, the estates are vested in trustees for 
various uses, so that they will not need to be 
put in Chancery. The trustees have very wide 
powers, if I remember correctly." 

" Who are they ? " 

" Mr. Lumley is one, Mr. Ernest Cavander 
is one ; and Lord Sanquhar, the Duke of 
Oswestry, and Lord Wrexham are the others." 

" All right, Langton, you take the matter in 
hand and do what you think best, pending Mr. 
Lumley's return." 

Mr. Ernest Cavander, as good as his word, 
petitioned to be placed on the roll of Irish 

34 




The D anger ville Inheritance 

Peers as Earl of Dangerville, moved his affairs 
into the hands of another firm of solicitors, and 
applied for the appointment of a receiver for 
the Dangerville estates, pending a decision. 
But his action was soon at an end — he was 
forced to admit that the new Earl of Danger- 
ville could not be bastardized or his birth 
disputed, so the claim was dropped. Mr. 
Ernest Cavander reverted to his political career, 
and things went on much as before. 

Two years passed, and once again Messrs. 
Lumley, Sladen, and St. Barbe heard from their 
client. The letter was merely a brief laconic 
note to the effect that Lord Dangerville pro- 
posed to call, in company with Mr. Frank 
Browne, his solicitor, on a day and hour which 
he appointed. 

The appointment was kept, and Mr. Browne 
formally identified his client — producing such 
proofs as were necessary — ^as the Earl of 
Dangerville. Any lingering doubt as to the 
possibility that a substituted impostor was being 
foisted upon them was at once dispelled. The 
likeness between the old Earl and the young 
one was remarkable. The consanguinity was 
apparent in every line of the face, in every 
feature, gesture, and manner. The voices were 
the same, and Mr. Lumley, who had known 

as 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the old Earl intimately, felt every scruple and 
suspicion he had harboured vanish as he 
listened to the young Peer speaking. Save 
that he was smaller and slighter and lacked his 
father's robustness of figure and voice, and that 
his face was a more refined and delicate version 
of the well-known Cavander features than Mr. 
Lumley remembered in the face of the late 
Earl, the son was a duplicate, or, perhaps, more 
correctly a replica, of his father. 

" Is Mr. Ernest Cavander going to dispute 
my succession ? " was one of the questions 
asked by the Earl. 

** We believe not.** 

** Are the trustees going to accept matters, or 
do they intend to make trouble ? ** 

" I think you may take it from me that no 

obstacles will be placed in your way. The 

matter was left in my discretion,** continued 

Mr. Lumley. ** We have decided that in any 

case funds equivalent to six months* income 

are to be placed at your disposal, pending the 

completion of all formalities, but in the face of 

this letter written by your father, together with 

the signed photographs which accompany it, and 

all of which Mr. Browne has handed me, there 

seems no room for any doubt ; and, as far as I 

am concerned, and I think I may also speak 

26 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

for my co-trustees, no difficulties will be 
raised." 

A week or two later, Lord Dangerville took 
possession of his ancestral home. None, save 
Mr. Browne, knew until more than a decade later 
that for two years the Earl of Dangerville, one of 
the wealthiest of Irish Peers, had earned a weekly 
pittance in the interval as a waiter in London. 
Young, good-looking, wealthy and clever. Lord 
Dangerville quickly made friends, and carved 
out the political career upon which he had set 
his heart. Within a few months of his majority 
he had been returned as a member of the House 
of Commons for a Unionist constituency, and 
at the end of ten years he found himself Under- 
Secretary of State for Ireland, and universally 
accounted as one of the coming men in the 
world of politics. At that time he had been 
married for some four to five years, his bride 
having been Lady Veronica Douglas, a daughter 
of the Duke of Aberfeldy. The Countess of 
Dangerville was no cypher, either in her 
husband's establishment or in those twin 
worlds of politics and society in both of which 
there are but few who shine. The Countess, on 
the contrary, was a leading figure, managing to 
accomplish, at one and the same time, the 

nearest approach to maintaining a political 

27 



■k 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

salon, whilst remaining a hostess to whom the 
term exclusive was correctly applied. Throw- 
ing herself heart and soul into her husband's 
career, her personality, charm, and ready wit, 
had been no small factors in his rapid advance- 
ment. The fact, which she made no secret of 
openly deploring, that their marriage had not 
been blessed with children had left Lady 
Dangerville with both time and inclination 
unfettered in her pursuit of politics. 

It was but natural, however, that she should 
have made, as she had, some number of 
enemies. She had played her game with a 
high hand, and cared little for the opinions and 
remarks of those whom she considered unlikely 
to be of use or advantage to her husband or 
herself. The consequence had been that there 
were vague rumours of wild extravagance and of 
gambling losses at both cards and racing, but 
constant as the rumours were, the world lacked 
facts, for these had proved elusive. There 
were ugly rumours, moreover, of Lady Danger- 
viUe's acquaintance with a Captain Nevile, a 
distant relative of her own, who was constantly 
in her company, and frequently staying for 
longer or shorter periods in her husband's 
house ; and these rumours were only kept in 
check by the undoubted footing of pronounced 

a8 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

afFection for each other upon which Lord and 
Lady Dangerville lived their joint life. The 
spiteful assumed a minage a trots; the charit- 
able persuaded themselves that Lord Danger- 
ville was a competent custodian of his own 
honour, and his wife too fond and proud of 
her husband to allow any action of hers to be 
derogatory. For so the world wags. 



«9 



♦. 



An Interlude 




« ^ -^ THAT is it, FewtreU ?" 

** Won't you have a shawl 
or something on, my lady ? " 
**I do wish you would be 
careful, Fewtrell. I've told you several times 
I'm simply Miss Douglas here." 

"I'm sure I'm sorry. Miss. Shall I fetch 
you a shawl ? " 

"I don't think I want one, but you can 
bring one if you like ; and tell them I shall 
want the boat again in the morning. It wants 
properly cleaning out. They don't half attend 
to that sort of thing in this part of the world." 

The shawl was brought, and the girl threw 
it over the arm of the rustic chair in which she 
was sitting. The remains of a gorgeous sunset 
illuminated the sky, and the midges were still 
annoying. Every now and then she raised her 
hand to brush them from her face, but other- 
wise she sat motionless in her chair on the 
lawn in front of the little rustic hotel, gazing 
straight in front of her over the hedge at the 
end of the lawn, at the long straight reach of 
the Severn before her far below. There was in 
the distance a background of steep red sandstone 

30 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

cliffs crowned with wooded summits, and the 
sluggish current of the river, banked up by 
the ford as the river narrowed and curved at 
right angles in front of her after it had passed 
from her view, was curiously illumined by the 
dying light. For miles round, as the evening 
fell, the peaceful agricultural district dropped 
into silence, the air was close and oppressive 
after the heat of a scorching summer day, and 
the very stillness would have added to the 
oppression had it not been broken from time 
to time by the bleating of sheep or the lowing 
of cattle, and by the noisy laughter which 
occasionally broke out in the tap room of the 
house behind. 

The girFs mind idly turned to the illness 
from which she was slowly recovering, and her 
protracted convalescence which formed the 
pretext of her stay in the wilds of Shropshire 
at the Cound Lodge Inn ; but her thoughts 
were broken by a distant rumble which, 
gathering force, at length resolved itself into 
the last evening train up the Severn Valley 
Line, and passed unseen on the other side of 
the hedge and between the hotel and the river. 
At that moment down the stream, just rounding 
the curve into view at the foot of the tall red 
sandstone cliffs at which she was gazing, drifted 

31 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



a boat. She watched its progress towards 
herself, partly drifting, partly sculled down the 
river. It contained two men, whose con- 
versation became audible whilst they were still 
some distance away, for water carries sound a 
long "distance. A broken sentence piqued the 
girFs curiosity, and she rapidly turned over the 
three or four words she had heard in her mind, 
seeking for a context. None came. The boat 
passed out of sight, but the sound of the 
shipping of the sculls made it evident that it 
was being tied up for the night at the hotel 
landing-steps, and, in a few minutes, the two 
men, having climbed up from the river, came into 
sight, and crossed the lawn to the inn behind. 

The girl watched them covertly with no 
little interest. Save for those attached to the 
hotel, and the rustic frequenters of the tap- 
room, they were the only people she had seen 
for several days. She could hear the bustle 
consequent upon their arrival, their imperious 
demand for ham and eggs and bedrooms, and 
she began to speculate upon their personalities. 
Both were young, both good-looking, healthy, 
muscular, sunburnt Englishmen, their flannel 
boating clothes showing to perfection the 
athletic lines upon which their frames had 
been fashioned. 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

She saw no more of them that evening, or, 
indeed, until after breakfast the following day, 
when a mutual desire for fresh air had taken 
the girl to the lawn with a book, where she 
found the men already installed on her favourite 
seat with their after-breakfast pipes. 

Mutual apologies and explanations produced 
a ** speaking-terms '* acquaintance, and a com- 
parison of plans revealed a common purpose of 
spending the day on the river, her own intention 
being a mere up-stream dawdle between the 
fords, which she did not feel equal to attempting, 
theirs a continuation of their touring jaunt, 
their next night to be spent at Bridgnorth, 
lower down the river. 

At length the bolder of the two men suggested 
a picnic lunch and tea, and that they should 
scuU the girl and her maid down the river as 
far as Iron Bridge, whence she could return 
by the evening train. The suggestion was 
welcomed and accepted, the girl stipulating 
that she should supply the lunch, and the 
preparations were soon busily in hand. 

Unless it be a picnic, there is nothing like a 
river for creating intimacy, and no drawback of 
premeditated reserve is proof against a day on 
the river containing a couple of picnics. When 
they parted in the evening at the little station 

33 C 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

of Iron Bridge, the three might, in many ways, 
have grown up from childhood together. 

" I wonder who she is ? " said the younger of 
the two men, as they strolled back from the 
station across the bridge to the Tontine HoteL 

" I noticed you fishing," replied the other ; 
"you did it rather cleverly, but the lady was 
cleverer, and that was just the one thing she 
had made up her mind not to be drawn con- 
cerning. You pushed it a trifle too strongly at 
the end. I fancied she was beginning to turn 
a wee bit restive." 

" Did you notice her maid called her ^ My 
Lady ' once ? " 

" Yes ; but then that's often done for effect, 
if they feel pretty certain there is no chance of 
your finding out who they really are. I 
wouldn't pin much of my faith to that if I 
were you. That maid was no chicken." 

" Well, I think it was a genuine slip of the 
tongue on the maid's part, but up till then I 
had put her down as being an actress ^ resting ' 
unconventionally and ^far from the madding 
crowd.' " 

" You're wrong over that. Her hair wasn't 
dyed and her skin was dean. If you are 
putting bismuth on your face every day of 
your life — well, your face shows it. Billy, old 

34 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

man, you'd better just chalk it all down as an 
adventure, harmless and within the proprieties, 
with an exceedingly charming and beautiful 
girl named Miss Douglas — Christian name, 
Veronica— who, in all probability you will 
never set eyes on again. Take my advice, 
Billy, let it go at that. Thank the Lord for a 
ripping day, and think of the lady as a memory. 
Let's see what these people here can give us 
for a meal. Picnic lunches and picnic teas are 
charming in their way, but give me a decent 
steak and a glass of beer for choice." 

Two days later the river tour had come to 
an end at Worcester, and the friends had sent 
their boat back to Shrewsbury by rail, and 
separated — the elder to return to his profession 
in town, the younger to kill a few days longer 
before rejoining his ship. His friend safely 
out of the way, he booked to Cressage, which 
is the station for Cound, and engaged a room 
at the Eagles at Cressage, the most com- 
fortable hotel in Shropshire. The next morning 
however found him again sitting on the lawn 
of the Cound Lodge Inn, smoking his after- 
breakfast pipe, and once more waiting for Miss 
Douglas to appear. 

She came down at last, dressed in a plain 
white serge and wearing a big shady hat 

35 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Close upon her heels came a small boy with 
an armful of cushions, a rudder, and a pair of 
sculls. 

"Where on earth have you sprung from ?" 
was her reply to the man's greeting. " Fm just 
going to dawdle about on the river." 

" I guessed as much, so I've come to do the 
sculling for you ; and to-day I've brought the 
lunch " — nodding towards a well-filled basket. 

" Thou takest many matters for granted, mon 

" I've taken your gracious consent, I'm quite 
aware ; but you can take my word, the lunch 
is a solid fact. Mrs. Holmes has laid herself 
out." 

** Ah I you are staying at the Eagles, then, 
are you? I've heard of the catering of Mrs. 
Holmes. I think I should have stayed at the 
Eagles myself, only I love this lawn and 
the sight of the river so much. If I let you 
come with me, it's due to the visible tempta- 
tions of Mrs. Holmes, remember." 

** So be it I One reason to me is as good 
as another, so long as it brings the desired 
result." 

And they went. 

The muscles of the man sculled the light 
boat miles up the stream, &r beyond any point 

36 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the girl had reached by her own efforts. They 
forgot all about the time and tea and other 
things, and the dusk was beginning to fall ere 
they returned. It had been once again the old, 
old story of the telling of the loves of a man 
and a maid. They crossed the lawn arm-in- 
arm, and the girl's beautiful face was aglow 
with the charm of the lovelight of a first 
enchantment. 

Two days later the man journeyed to South- 
ampton to rejoin his ship, and for the girl the 
light went out. Declaring her cure completed, 
she returned to her home. She and her lover 
had arranged a means of correspondence under 
cover to her maid. 

Eighteen months or more passed. The girl 
in a couple of London seasons had learnt the 
wisdom of the world and the morals of many 
of her associates. There had been one or two 
stolen meetings as occasion had permitted during 
her sailor-man's brief intervals on shore. But 
the occasional glimpses they had had of one 
another had served but to whet their love and 
keen desire. The man was only a junior officer 
in the Union-Castle liner service, to whom matri- 
mony was as yet in the distance : but as far as 
that was concerned the subject never seemed to 
have even approached within the calculations of 

37 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the girl as a thing for the present or for the 
future, whereat the man wondered. 

Once he had pressed her for a promise to 
marry him in the future. 

"Billy," she had answered, "what is the 
use ? How long will it be before you could 
hope to support a wife, even one accustomed 
to such an income as you would have ? YouVd 
never asked me who I am — that's one reason, 
amongst many, why IVe liked you. But I 
couldn't live on such an income as you will 
have. I've no money of my own — not a six- 
pence. Of course, you must know I spend a 
great deal of money. I admit it ; but it's 
simply an allowance from my father, who can 
stop it at his pleasure. He certainly would not 
continue it after my marriage, unless it were 
a marriage arranged with his consent and 
approval." 

" Shall I ask your father ? Who is he ? " 

She laughed — a queer, broken chuckle of a 
laugh. 

" No, Billy ; you'd better not. It wouldn't 
be the smallest use. I don't see the slightest 
hope of our ever getting married to each other ; 
so what is the good of either talking or thinking 
of it ? Leave it outside our plans. We can 
only love one another till we tire of it or — or, 

33 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

well, it's got to be said — until one of us gets 
married. Let's be happy, Billy, as we may, till 
Fate interferes. Why don't you learn to live 
in the present ? " 

It was not a difficult lesson, as the girl chose 
to teach it to him. And he learnt it, and tried 
to be content. 

• ••••• 

He and she were lunching together in an 
Hotel at Southampton. It was a quiet little 
hotel — the sort that advertises itself as a 
family hotel ; and they had the coffee-room to 
themselves. Their meal was nearly finished — 
they were just prolonging it because both hated 
to bring it to an end. The girl was plainly 
low-spirited, and on the verge of tears. 

"Look here, darling. What's the good of 
worrying ? I'll be home again in three months 
or so." 

As the words left the man's mouth the door 
opened, and another man entered the room and 
sat down at one of the small tables at a little 
distance. Both turned to look at the new-comer, 
and for that reason her companion missed the 
quick start and indrawn gasp of the girl as 
recognition jumped to her mind. But a wave 
of colour overspread her face. The girl's self- 
control was remarkable, and in a moment she 

39 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

had mastered her agitation, and was gazing in 
front of her with unconcerned nonchalance. 
The new-comer left his seat, and advanced to 
the table at which the other two were sitting. 

" Funny meeting you here, isn't it ? How 
do you do ? " and he held out his hand. 

**I think you must have made a mistake. 
I'm not aware I have the pleasure of your 
acquaintance." 

" Surely you must know me — Lord Danger- 
ville — ^well enough." 

The girl lifted her eyes to his, and looked 
him straight in the face and lied him down. 

"No, I'm sure I've never seen you before. 
You are making a mistake." 

Lord Dangerville bowed, murmured an 
apology, and returned to his seat. 

" Oh, it was beautifully done 1 " he muttered 
to himself as he sat down. 

The other diners soon called for their bill, 
and left the room. Lord Dangerville, beckon- 
ing to the waiter, asked — 

" Who were those people ? " 

" The gentleman is an officer on the Walmer 
Castle^ the Union-Castle boat, sir, sailing to- 
morrow — ^a Mr. Meysey. He always stays 
here." 

"Who was the lady?" 

40 



m^ 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

** That's Mrs. Meysey, sir, his wife. They 
can only be just married, sir, as this is the first 
time she's stayed here, or been down to see him 
off." 

" Are you sure you are not mistaken ? *' 

The waiter brought the visitors' book. 
There was the name plainly enough — Mr. and 
Mrs. Meysey — written two days before. 

Later in the same day the fast express for 
London was waiting at the platform to depart. 
There were the usual hurryings to and fro of 
bewildered passengers, the jostling of porters 
and luggage, and all the regular confusion 
attending the departure of a train. 

With a sickening fear at her heart, and her 
breath coming in quick, panting gasps, and a 
newspaper before her face, the girl sat in the far 
corner of the compartment, and waited in tense 
suspense. A guilty conscience makes cowards 
of us all. There came the shrill whistle of the 
guard, and the train slowly, almost impercep- 
tibly, began to glide along. 

"Thank God,** she murmured, as she put 
her paper down. 

" Stand away there, please," came the strident 
voice of a ticket-inspector. 

But the door of the compartment was flimg 
open, a man stumbled in with a laugh, and the 

41 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

door was slammed behind him as the train 
gathered speed. 

Seating himself deliberately, Lord Danger- 
ville turned to the girl. 

" Hope you're better. Lady Veronica. Your 
father told me they were expecting you back 
this evening from a few days* visit to the sea 
to recuperate. But I thought you were staying 
at Paignton ? " 

The man's face bore a queer, good-humoured, 
quizzical smile ; but it was the smile of the 
gambler who knows he holds all the trump 
cards and is about to play them, and knows, 
moreover, that his adversary will have to 
pay. 

Lady Veronica shrank back upon the 
cushions, her face a ghastly grey, her lips 
parted, her heart thumping into her throat, 
her eyes with the strange, piteous, hunted look 
of a rabbit driven up into a corner, and waiting 
for the blow to fall. 

Lord Dangerville watched her through his 
half-closed eyelids, and at last came his 
question — 

" And what story is it, Lady Veronica, that 
I have to tell the Duke ? " 

When the two alighted at Waterloo they had 
become most excellent friends, and before the 

4a 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

end of the season Society bewailed the fact of 
one eli^ble bachelor the less as it gossiped over 
the details of the marriage which had taken 
place between the Earl of Dangerville and Lady 
Veronica Douglas, the second daughter of the 
Duke of Aberfeldy. 



43 



Chapter III 



CAPTAIN NEVILE had graduaUy 
come to the end of his tether. 
Harassed he had been for weeks. 
Never himself of a sweet temper 
or disposition, his men expected no considera- 
tion at any time at his hands, but that morning 
on parade he had sorely tried both the tempers 
and the patience of the long-suffering soldiers 
under his orders. He was thankful when his 
duty for the day was over. His company were 
devoutly so, and later on, in the canteen, voiced 
their feelings without restraint. 

" The fool wants ducking and putting 

under a hen-coop like a broody hen, till he 
cools down," had been one appropriate remark. 

And yet, had they known — for they were all, 
as are most Tommies, good sportsmen — most of 
them would have pitied the man. His own 
money spent to the last farthing many months 
past ; his friends sick of lending to him ; and his 
eternal bad luck a never-ending sequence. He 
had not backed a winner for weeks past, and 
like the desperate gamblers, amongst whom he 
now had to be included, the more he had lost 
the heavier he had plunged in a vain endeavour 

44 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

to recoup himself. He was simply playing on 
the turf the oldest of all the Monte Carlo 
" systems," he was practically doubling on his 
losses, treating a win as rouge and a loss as 
noir. He had had a run on the black, and was 
simply betting on, trying to hold out till the 
red turned up. His betting had degenerated 
into a pure fatalistic waiting. Could he hold 
out till came the turn of red ? But betting on 
horses has many variations beyond the simple 
alternative, and he had waited long and could 
hold out no longer. All his horses, and he had 
in times past owned a number, had been parted 
with one by one save the last, a filly he had 
named Finality. He had bought her a bargain 
as a yearling, and had at once nominated her 
for several of the classic races. Neither her 
price nor her pedigree (which was in doubt), 
nor yet her appearance at that age, had 
warranted the supposition that she would prove 
more than a successful second-rate gambling 
machine. 

But she had proved a surprise. In her two- 
year-old preparations her performances had been 
a matter of wild amazement to both her trainer 
and owner, and they had laid their plans in 
consequence to bring off several big coups — 
chief amongst which they intended to win the 

45 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Oaks. Cautiously they had immediately begun 
to place their money at the long odds — any 
odds and any bet they liked to ofFer — ^which 
could be obtained at that time against the mare. 
As one or two of the two-year-old races fell to 
the lot of Finality, and trusted " good things " 
were noticed to finish behind her, the public 
came in and the price shortened. But Captain 
Nevile had arranged all he desired. At the 
beginning of the spring he stood to gain no 
less a sum than ;^8 0,000 if Finality won the 
Oaks. But the day of the Oaks was still 
two months ahead. That morning he had had 
a very peremptory letter demanding money 
from his trainer, a small man with but little, if 
any, capital at his back, and he had paid his 
trainer nothing for more than twelve months. 

Nevile knew his young wife was penniless 
and in tears in their diminutive flat, the bailiff in 
possession occupying the only chair and most 
of the vacant floor space in the kitchen. No 
household bills had been paid for long enough. 
The existence would long since have been im- 
possible to any ordinary woman, but his wife, a 
handsome animal, recruited from the ranks of 
the ballet — perhaps even lower — was a constant 
reminder of a brief aberration of intellect for 
which he cursed his consummate folly day in 

46 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

day out. His wife joined him volubly in that 
occupation on frequent occasions, and, as he 
once told her, her only redeeming virtue in his 
eyes was that she was used to the poverty- 
stricken makeshifts of the calling from which 
he had taken hen In this he misjudged her, 
for, with all the fierce passions of her limited 
nature, she loved the man she had married. 
She had endured his insults, the sordid life of 
perennial credit-asking, and perpetual dunning ; 
she had kept her name clean and herself of 
good repute since her marriage, simply because 
with every fibre of her body she loved this 
husband of hers. 

His bankers had requested him to pay off 
his overdraft and remove his account, the 
committee of his dub " required an explana- 
tion " of a dishonoured cheque, and he was 
being remorselessly pressed by the money- 
lending Jew into whose hands he had drifted. 

He had come clean up to the end of his 
tether, and yet he must hang on for another 
two months. Finality had missed a race a few 
days previously for which she had been entered, 
and over which he had expected to make an 
appreciable sum. It had seemed an absolute 
gift to her, and, being detained in Town, he had 
been staggered to find first — as the messages 

47 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

came over the tape — that she had not won, then 
that she had not run, and, finally, that she had 
not even left her stables. His trainer had 
merely sent him a laconic note that he had been 
unable to raise the money for the horse-box 
and railway fares. The explanation might have 
been really true or might have been false, the 
odds were that it was false, but true or false, it 
was a hint, and probably meant as a hint that 
unless a substantial sum was paid on account it 
was very improbable that the mare would ever 
be sent to Epsom for the Oaks. Instead of 
receiving over the race, it was consequently but 
a piling up of the amount he owed the various 
members of the Ring. 

And every day the market hardened and 
the price about Finality shortened. Captain 
Nevile had booked his own bets at a hundred 
to one or larger odds. Three to one was now 
the best price that could be obtained. 

Captain Nevile walked sulkily to an address 
in Jermyn Street and sent in his name. He 
knew the place well, for it was where the 
principal moneylender he had dealt with did 
business. In old days his reception had 
been cordial. As he sat now in the outer office 
whilst the cheap clock on the mantelshelf 
steadily ticked away ten minutes — twenty 

48 




The Dangerville Inheritance 

minutes — half an hour, he contrasted the 
dilFerence in his treatment. He longed, he 
told himself, to get the dirty neck of the 
beastly little Jew between his fingers and break 
it, and from time to time he took his hand- 
kerchief from his pocket and wiped away the 
moisture from his palms. He was sick with 
anxiety. 

At length a bell rang, and the pert and 
dirty little office boy ceased from sniffing and 
sucking his teeth, as he slid down from his 
high stool to answer it, and passed into the 
inner room. A coarse loud voice asked — 

" Is that man Nevile 'ere still ? " 

"Yessir." 

"Then send 'im in. Tell 'im I'm in an 'urry 
and can honly spare a couple o' minutes." 

The soldier's gorge rose, and his hands 
trembled and gripped at his stick. But he 
smothered his feelings, and, taking the unoffi^red 
seat, began — 

" I've come to ask you to renew those bills 
of mine for another three months, Mr. Gordon. 
I find I can't put my hands on my money 
quite so soon as I expected. It's a mere 
formality, of course. I suppose, it's the usual 
terms — same as before ? '* 

" No, it damned well ain't, my beauty. It's 

49 i> 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

just nothing of the sort. It's pay up now, and 
no hanky-panky. I've had enough of your 
fine fellow, la-di-da ways. It's a case of let's 
see the colour of your brass now." 

The captain, keeping his temper with dif- 
ficulty, argued for a few minutes, but he saw 
plainly the Jew had made up his mind, and 
he ceased speaking and sat there. The money- 
lender gave him thirty seconds ; then, locking 
his table-drawer with great to-do, reached his 
hat, rose from his chair, and stood in front of 
the fireplace. 

" Well, I told you I could only give you a 
few minutes. What I say now, I mean. I'll 
give you a week to pay on your own, and then 
if you won't I'll make you ; and I've got one 
or two pretty little ways — specially designed, 
patent applied for — for use with ornamental 
duffers in the Guards ; " and he chuckled as he 
ended, " Take my advice, young man, and pay. 
Do what that Kiplin' of yours did to the 
Habsent-minded Beggar. Pay, my young 
friend, pay." 

"One moment more, Mr. Gordon." And 
then out it all came — the clean breast the Jew 
had been bluffing and waiting for. Not a cent 
in the world, debts to his neck, and Finality 
his only asset. As he spoke of the sum he 

50 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

stood to win, some of the gambler's old en- 
thusiasm came back for the moment, and the 
Jew listened with interest, although he had 
known every detail long before. He made a 
long pretence of turning the matter over in his 
mind, and remarked at last — 

" You say, then, that if I'll renew again and 
let you 'ave another thousand, you can 'ang on 
till after the Oaks, and pull through and land 
that eighty thousand. Lordy, and who are the 
blooming mugs who've been trusting you to 
bet up to that sum ? " 

Captain Nevile told him the bets he had, the 
odds they were made at, and the bookmakers 
they were made with ; and the Jew knew the 
men were amongst those reckoned good for 
the money. The soldier urged him to do as 
he had asked. 

" No, I won't," at last came the reply ; 
** you've told me you ain't got a stiver left in 
cash or expectations, and I've been a good- 
natured fool, that's what I 'ave, to let you 

run up as much as I 'ave done. But I tell you 
what I will do. It's a bit out of my usual line 
of business, but I don't mind for once if I do 
try a bit of a flutter with the gee-gees myself. 
Including what you owe me, you say you owe 
;£i 3,000 all told. Well, then, you assign all 

SI 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

your bets to me, and I'll start you fair with a 
dean sheet all round." 

Captain Nevile knew he had not disclosed 
all his debts, and that the " fair start," unless 
the ;^8 0,000 came to him, was no start at all. 
And the race seemed such a certainty for 
Finality that he was loth to take the Jew's 
offer. He would, he well knew, never fluke 
into such a chance again. Bargains like 
Finality are hard to find. He thought a 
moment or two, and offered ;^i 0,000 of his 
winnings instead for the renewal and the 
thousand he had asked for. The Jew refused, 
and he raised the offer to ;^20,ooo. Again the 
moneylender said " No." At length the latter 
added — 

**ril make you another offer. You keep 
your winnings and let me 'ave the horse, and 
I'll give you the clean sheet I offered you 
before." 

The soldier jumped at the offer, which was 
all but concluded when a sudden thought 
struck him. 

" But if I keep the bets, how are you going 
to make anything ? She's at evens now, or will 
be before you can get any money on," 

" Oh, trust me I " 

" But surely you don't mean ! — ^why, you'll 



Sa 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

bet against her and run her to lose. You 
hound I m see you damned first." 

" Thank ye for the compliment, you broken- 
winded pauper. That's the end of it. Clear 
out of my office at once, and take yer blooming 
*orse with yer, and pay up every cent within a 
week, or I'll break yer, yer swine. Them's 
my terms ; '* and he spat into the fireplace. 



5S 



Chapter IV 



NEVILE staggered down the stairs 
stupefied. The Jew had been 
comparatively quiescent, and he 
saw now that he would have been 
wiser to have left him alone. By trying to 
raise more money, he had simply precipitated 
another avalanche on his own shoulders. But 
he was desperate, and he turned his steps to the 
chambers in St. James's Street, where he knew 
he would find one of his brother officers. He 
distinctly heard the *^ Oh, damn ! well, show him 
in " with which the announcement of his call 
had been greeted, so he asked no sympathy, 
requested no favours. He knew Captain 
Verney was a man who betted heavily and had 
a high opinion of Finality's chances for the 
Oaks. Without beating about the bush, he 
put the whole of the facts before him as a 
simple business proposition, asking him to take 
over as an informal trustee the mare and his 
bets, to find enough money to pay the training 
account and to stave off the Jew and any other 
of the creditors, who, by going to extremes, 
might attempt to obtain possession of Finality, 
and interfere with her preparation, 

54 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Verney was tempted. He loved racing for 
racing's sake ; he loved a good horse, and he 
believed in Finality, and the proposition seemed 
to offer all the excitement ready made of a 
gorgeous gamble. He was gambler enough 
to hesitate for a moment ; he would have 
liked the risk, but the figures were utterly 
beyond his means. 

"No," said Verney. "Fm sorry, Nevile, 
but I simply can't. It isn't won't. I couldn't 
put up the money now for your trainer's 
account, let alone anything else. But I'll talk 
to the other men in the regiment, and I'll see 
if we can do it together. Suppose you come 
in to see me to-morrow evening, and I'll get 
some of the likely ones here, and we'll talk 
things over ; and look here, Nevile, it may 
make things a bit easier for the missus mean- 
while ; " and he pushed a fiver into the other 
man's hand. 

How Nevile passed the next day no one 
ever knew. He took the note to his wife, 
wired to his colonel that he was ill and unable 
to attend to his duty, and disappeared. His 
wife had no idea of his whereabouts, and the 
tempting dinner she provided for him that 
evening with her own hands — it was weeks 
since they had had a servant — was kept hot for 

55 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



him till it was spoilt, when it was appreciated 
by the bailiff, who felt, as he remarked to Mrs. 
Nevile, that he was tasting " *igh life." 

The following evening, when Nevile arrived 
at Verney's chambers, he found some ten or a 
dozen of his brother officers assembled. No 
comment was made on Nevile*s appearance ; but 
the man had plainly passed the night without 
sleep. 

" Nevile,** said Verney, " all I've done about 
it has been to ask every man in the regiment 
that I knew did any betting to come here to- 
night, and I told them it was important. 
Stanley, you know, is out of Town, and young 
Tomlinson couldn't come, but as he hasn't 
much money he doesn't matter. I just told 
them before you came in, in a general way, that 
you wanted us to take over Finality and your 
bets and your liabilities, and run you and the 
mare till after the Oaks, but I've left you to go 
into details." 

"The details are simple enough," said 
Nevile. "I'm up to my neck in ordinary 
debts, tradesmen's accounts, and that kind of 
thing ; got the bailiffs in at my flat. I suppose 
Verney is the only one who knows I'm married. 
I owe about £2000 to different bookmakers, 
and I owe a damned little Jew moneylender 

56 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

about ;^I500, and I only had ;^500 for it. I've 
got an overdraft at the bank, and I owe a train- 
ing bill for the last twelve months. A year 
ago, I had over a dozen horses, but I've only 
got Finality now. Altogether, I owe ;^ 15,000 
or ;^ 1 6,000. If Finality wins I shall get 
^8o,ooo," 

And then he told them frankly how he was 
being pressed, how his trainer had not sent 
Finality for her last race, and how Gordon, the 
moneylender, had given him a week to pay up 
in full. 

"Yes, and what is it you suggest?" said 
Verney. 

" Well, put it that altogether I stand as if I 
had sunk ;^ 15,000 capital in Finality to make 
;^8o,ooo. Youll have to pay off the Jew and 
the trainer. You can do the best you can with 
the other debts — stave 'em off as long as you 
can, if possible till after the Oaks, but if any 
one gets beyond that and wants to take posses- 
sion of Finality, why, he'll have to be paid off 
as well. Whatever sum you fellows have put 
up by the day of the race will be like the trans- 
fer of so much of the capital to you, and you 
will get a proportionate share of the ;^8 0,000." 

The men talked it over for some time — they 
bandied calculations and figures backwards and 

57 



■■"1. 

■■»■ • 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

m 

forwards, and the decision seemed likely to be 
favourable, for they all believed in the mare. 
She was now quoted at '* evens." At length a 
grey-haired major opened his lips for the first 
time. 

"Look here," he said, and he sucked hard 
at his pipe — ^and the buzz of talk in the room 
immediately subsided. "You boys are going 
a great deal too fast. Suppose Finality loses ? " 

" But she won't — it's a gift to her." 

" But she may. Listen to me. If we all take 
over Nevile, from what he says I expect we shall 
have to take up and liquidate, at the very least, 
about ;^7000 or £8000. Now there are ten of 
us here — none of the others are likely to join in. 
That means ;^8oo each. Now, how many of 
you boys can afford to lose ^^800 — ^ clear, clean, 
chuckaway loss, nothing to be realized after- 
wards. I can't, and you all know well enough 
there are only two of you who can. The 
thing's too big for us as just a bit of a pastime, 
and it's too rocky to treat as business and go 
to our lawyers or bankers for money for an 
investment. We can't do it." 

" But Finality's certain to win, and we could 
raise the money amongst us easily enough." 

**Yes, I dare say, by backing each other's 
bills and judiciously distributing them round 

58 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the town. But rm not in that, and what's 
more, Tm not going to stand by and see you 
youngsters, particularly, make such idiots of 
yourselves. We don't want another Guards' 
Scandal for the papers at the moment." 

*' But, Major, it's simply flying in the face of 
Providence to shy away a chance like this." 

Major Cantrell turned rather grave as he 
answered — 

"Betting beforehand on the chances of a 
mare is, in the ordinary event of natural things, 
a big enough gamble for most men, but you've 
all overlooked one or two little details. If we 
do as Nevile proposes, the mare would pass 
under our charge ; but it's a risky thing, and a 
damned silly thing, to chop and change in the 
middle of a preparation, and she would be 
pretty well bound to stay with her present 
trainer. Now, there's a fairly big margin 
between the price Nevile made his bets at and 
the price just at present, and by hedging his 
bets now he could clear himself. If he tries to 
unload gradually, then it's bound to leak out 
that the owner is betting against the horse, and 
that would put an end to everything ; but if 
he put it dl in the market at once, it would 
probably drive the price back to say five to one. 
But even at five to one he would get ;C 16,000, 

59 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

which he admits would clear him. Well, why 
doesn't he ? I can understand a man putting 
up with a good deal for the chance of ;^8 0,000, 
but when he has no chance of recovering him- 
self unless he wins, and when it's sheer starvation 

till he wins or if he fails, well His story 

to us has been a piece of lunacy, and I don't 
believe it as it stands. There's something 
behind, it all that we don't know." 

" Don't you think the mare will win, then ? " 
put in one of the youngsters. " You know all 
there is to be known about racing." 

" Bar accidents, I believe she will win if she 
is meant to do so." 

Nevile's face flushed a dusky red, and his 
fingers twitched. Stumbling to his feet, he 
asked — 

" What do you mean ? Don't you trust 
me?" 

" I don't trust your trainer. I know some- 
thing of him. I wouldn't touch him with a 
pole, and I wouldn't trust him as far as I could 
see him." 

"And me?" 

There was silence in the room for some 
minutes, and the question was repeated. 

The Major sucked at his pipe, which was 
foul and bubbled. 

60 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Again the question was repeated, and the 
one man took a step or two nearer and towered 
in anger over the other sitting coolly in the 
deep armchair. 

At last came the answer. 

"Well, Nevile, as you persist, to put it 
plainly, I don't." 

The others stared with open eyes, waiting for 
the blow to be struck. They expected no 
other ending ; that one seemed so inevitable. 
But Nevile turned on his heel without a word, 
picked up his hat, and left the room. In- 
stinctively they all waited for the slamming of 
the door. But it was not slammed. The 
room was thick with tobacco-smoke, and none 
could be certain he had closed the door after 
him, and the tension was only broken when a 
young subaltern took his glass to the sideboard 
and refilled it. Once again the Major's voice 
claimed attention. 

"You boys must be carefiil that nothing 
which has been said is mentioned outside those 
of us who are here. I may be wrong, after all, 
and Nevile may simply be gambling straight- 
forwardly. Of course, he can't stay in the 
regiment — she'll probably see that himself ; but 
we needn't make matters harder for him. If 

we were in his troubles we might act differently, 

6i 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



but we aren't ; if he can hold out till the Oaks, 
well, let him, and say nothing till then. Win 
or lose, he*ll be glad enough to go then." 

As it happened the Major was wrong, for 
Nevile was so certain that Finality would win 
that the idea of hedging his bets had never, 
in spite of all his embarrassments, even entered 
his head. He had admitted the possibility of 
accident, and had reckoned for that In that 
case he knew he would go under completely 
and irrevocably. But alongside that thought 
there had always been its companion, " But if 
he won, as he was pretty sure to do,** and he 
took little thought of that possibility of losing. 
As he frankly admitted to himself, it was win 
all or lose all, and he was well content that it 
should be so, so long as he could hang on for 
the next two months. 

Captain Nevile was desperate ; the pressure 

put upon him had been intensified in the last 

few days, and he had simply met it by keeping 

out of the way. It needed all the courage he 

possessed to take the next step, which he knew 

was his final chance. He wrote to Lady 

Dangerville and asked her to lend him £iocx), 

with the help of which he thought he might 

throw sops to Cerberus and stave off the evil 

day a little longer. The reply he received was 

62 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

in the negative, a letter friendly enough, but 
explaining that she had no funds at all except 
her allowance for pocket money from Lord 
Dangerville, that Captain Nevile had asked for 
nearly the whole of her year's income, that her 
quarter's money was nearly all spent, that her 
dressmaker was clamouring for payment of an 
old account, and that she really could not lend 
him the sum he had asked for. But the man 
was desperate, his chances being in the balance ; 
and scarcely thinking what he did, he wrote, 
" I must have the money — if Lady Dangerville 
will not, will Mrs. Meysey lend me the amount ?" 
This he placed in an envelope addressed to 
" Mrs. Meysey," enclosing this in a second 
envelope to the Countess. By return of post 
he received ;^300, with a promise that the 
remainder should follow, which it did a few 
posts later, together with a letter. The letter 
had neither beginning nor signature. 

"That I was surprised at your letter, you 
will not wonder ; that after the terms we have 
been on you should descend to such action, is 
beyond me. Here am I expecting the child in 
a fortnight, and because I decline to lend you 
money after my husband has done so, just 
because I asked him till he is sick of it, you 
condescend to approach me as you did because 

63 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

of my one false step, which, if you are a gende- 
man, it should have been your endeavour to 
obliterate. You are a cur and a cad, and, 
needless to say, that is the end of anything 
between us." 

In due season the Morning Post and the society 
papers announced the birth of a daughter to 
the Earl and Countess of Dangerville, and 
congratulations poured in from all sides. 



64 



Chapter V 



LORD DANGERVILLE was sitting in 
his room at the Irish Office when 
J Mr. Dennis Yardley, the well- 
known private detective, was an- 
nounced. 

Begging him to be seated, and pushing across 
a box of cigars, the Under-Secretary unlocked 
one of his despatch-boxes and took from it an 
envelope. 

**Mr. Yardley,** he said, "I hope you 
haven't been misled into the supposition that 
it was official political work that I asked you 
to call here about. It's nothing so exciting. 
It's simply a little humdrum afiair of my own, 
and one which I dare say will not tax your 
powers very far. I really sent for you because 
I know I can rely on your secrecy." 

The detective murmured a few words in 
acknowledgment of the compliment, and Lord 
Dangerville continued. 

"They say no man is a hero to his own 
vale^ but at the same time I have a very great 
horror of handing my private afiairs over to 
the discussion of Government subordinates, 
even if they are in another department. You 

65 s 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

see, the various departments overlap, and 
though one can occasionally prevent secrets 
working downwards, you can never be certain 
they don't work upwards, or where the know- 
ledge really stops. And I've a holy horror of 
making a fuss about a thing which I strongly 
suspect is simply a huge piece of blufF. Now, 
it won't help my political career if it ever comes 
out I've been made an absolute fool of." 

**Well, Lord Dangerville, I can only say 
that you can absolutely rely on my secrecy, 
and I feel pretty nearly equally confident you 
may depend upon my diplomatic discretion. 
May I know what the trouble is ? " 

**It's anonymous letters — or rather anony- 
mous blackmail, if one must call the thing by 
its proper name. Some weeks ago I received 
this letter : — 

" * Lord Dangerville would probably not care 

for the secret attending the birth of his child to 

be made public. The writer of this letter, who 

is in possession of this secret, is prepared to 

keep his mouth closed if within three days the 

sum of ;^8oo is sent in bank notes in a registered 

letter addressed to Arthur Montmorency, to be 

called for at Charing Cross Post Office. The 

writer warns Lord Dangerville that any attempt 

at arrest or identification will simply mean 

66 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

disclosure, as such precautions have been taken 
that the arrest of the writer is impossible. The 
writer begs Lord Dangerville to believe that it 
has only been the direst necessity which has 
compelled such an application, but this having 
been made, the writer has no intention of with- 
drawing/ '* 

** What has happened ? " said Yardley. 

" Well, I paid the money." 

" Surely that was very unwise." 

** I dare say it was, but to be absolutely frank 

with you, at the time I received that letter I 

had a very shrewd suspicion I could put my 

hand on the writer, and if my guess were correct, 

I knew the chap was most confoundedly hard 

up. It seemed to me from the letter that it 

was not the work of a professional blackmailer, 

but the act of somebody driven to desperation 

and to a deed he was thoroughly ashamed of; 

the sort of thing that's done once in a lifetime 

under stress of circumstances. Not to put too 

fine a point on it, the man's by way of being a 

relative. Now, if I were right, there were 

reasons why that man should not directly appeal 

to me — not very strong, certainly — but I had 

previously refused to lend him any more money, 

and J h^d told him I didn't want to have any- 

thingp^ore to do with him. Perhaps I was a 

67 






The Dangerville Inheritance 

bit harsh in what I said, and I felt that I didn't 
so much mind letting him have the money — it 
isn't all that much to me. With regard to his 
threat, I, of course, put that down to an 
anonymous innuendo that my child was some- 
body else's bastard. The fact of that threat 
being used was the one thing that made me 
doubt the accuracy of my suspicion, because 
that particular relative knew perfectly well the 
absolutely affectionate terms the Countess and 
I are upon. But, on the other hand, he had 
got to find some story to blackmail me with. 
He would, of course, never dream I should 
guess the writer, and he would, naturally, know 
that whilst I should not really give a moment's 
thought to any such anonymous suggestion, I 
should be anxious not to have even false scandal 
started about my wife, and I put it down that 
he would salve his conscience with the know- 
ledge that his letter could not make mischief 
between my wife and myself, and so would do 
no real harm." 

** I wish you had consulted me then.** 

** Well, it might have been wiser, but I hadn't 

decided to take anybody into my confidence, 

and I had to act on my own judgment and of 

course I wasn't certain it was the man I 

suspected. You see, if it were anybody else 

68 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the innuendo was meant. Don't 'let what I say 
lead you to fancy for one moment that I doubt 
the fidelity of my wife, but I must admit that I 
have had to remonstrate once or twice with her 
for the indiscreet way she has acted on several 
occasions. There's an old proverb, *Mens 
conscia recti.' She puts a very ridiculous esti- 
mate on that saying. She is very intolerant 
unless she likes people, and absolutely regard- 
less of what people say or think. She will not 
condescend to recognize the existence of that 
dear old party, Mrs. Grundy. She has and 
shows on all occasions a quite needless con- 
tempt for Society reporters and then- papers, 
and they've all got their backs up against her. 
The consequence is, I have seen her name 
coupled in print once or twice— of course in 
too veiled a form to take legal action — and I've 
had heaps of anonymous letters, and I know 
people are talking freely. I know it's all quite 
innocent, but whenever I say anything, she 
merely answers, * Let them talk if they like to ; 
they are only canaille^ and it doesn't hurt me,' 
and I can't persuade her that no woman's repu- 
tation will stand it for ever. So that if any 
definite story were to be started about her, 
the ground is certainly well prepared for it 
—and I didn't want any scandal of the kind 

69 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

to get started. So I paid the money, and I 
took no steps at all to find out who it was that 
was blackmailing me. 

** I realljr thought that was the end of it — but 
yesterday I received this letter ; " and Lord 
Dangerville handed a second letter to Yardley. 
It was as follows : — 

** The writer regrets he has again to trouble 
Lord Dangerville (this time for ^C^ooo) about 
the same matter on which he previously com- 
municated. The writer hopes the money will 
be sent immediately, and to the same name 
and address at Charing Cross Post Office, but 
assures Lord Dangerville that no further appli- 
cation will ever be made. To prevent any 
misconception or mistake, the writer wishes 
to inform Lord Dangerville that he does not 
propose to call himself for the letter which 
will be despatched to him by the messenger 
whom he will send in lieu. If no letter is 
received in due course, or if it prove to be a 
dummy letter, or if any of the notes contained 
in it are found to have been stopped, the 
secret previously referred to will be at once 
made public. The writer has means to that 
end ready to his hand, and will not hesitate to 
use them." 

The detective read the letter and put it 

70 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

down upon the table. He looked up, waiting 
for Lord Dangerville to speak. 

** It's very evident from that, that my sus- 
picions were wrong. As a matter of fact, 
I have found out that it is quite impossible 
that they could have been correct. The writer 
says that is the last time, but blackmailers 
always say that." 

** Yes, that is usually so." 

" Well, I'm not going to adopt the paying 
of blackmail as a regular luxury. It's the kind 
of thing that palls ; that's why I sent for you. 
Now, what had I better do ? '* 

" I suppose the reasons you paid on the first 
occasion still hold good." 

« They do." 

**Then I think you had better pay again, 
or, rather, pretend to pay, and I will track 
whoever calls for the letter. I don't see how 
he can touch that money without giving us a 
perfect trail to follow up. But send £iS^o 
instead of ;^2ooo. That would look as if you 
were really permitting yourself to be black- 
mailed, and had sent all the ready cash you 
could spare. He will then never dream you are 
trying to track him. It will put him a bit oflF 
his guard. Very probably ;^i 5CX) would carry 
your friend along for some time — they generally 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

ask for more than thejr want — and in that 
case he'll be so glad to get the £ 1 500 that he 
will put ofF asking for the balance till he wants 
to raid you again." 

" That's a very smart idea of yours, Yardley. 
m do as you say." 

Terms between the two men were quickly 
setded, and Yardley, picking up his hat, rose 
to go, saying — 

" I suppose you want all this put an end to 
as quickly as possible, arresting the man if 
necessary ? " 

" No — that's not it at all. Your instructions 
are — and please note them carefully — to find 
out who is writing these letters. When I know 
that, rU soon decide what to do." 



72 



Chapter VI 



THE lodgings were pretentious and 
shabby-genteel ; the table-cloth was 
dirty, the plating worn away from 
the cruet in the centre of the 
table, and cruet and table alike were rickety. 
The bacon was cold, the fat having set on the 
dish in a solid white mass, and the appearance 
of everjrthing was unappetizing. 

Captain Nevile, his head splitting, and his 
mouth "tasting bad," was suffering, as usual, 
from the result of too liberal a supply of whiskey 
overnight, and had no appetite even for the 
most tempting of breakfasts. But, in spite of 
it all, the habits of long years still had their 
effect, and the man's appearance, spruce, soldier- 
like, and well groomed, gave the lie to the 
watering eyes, and the shaking hand which 
told their usual tale. He stood for a moment 
in the folding-doors that separated the bed- 
room from the sitting-room, and his glance 
rested first on the woman seated in the window, 
and then upon the breakfast. 

With an exclamation of disgust he sat down, 
poured himself out some stone-cold coffee, 
and began to attack the bacon. But he put 

73 



The Dcungerville Inheritance 

down the first mouthful before he had tasted 
\ty pushed his plate away, and then, walking 
to the sideboard, mixed himself a stiff glass of 
whiskey. This he drank at a gulp, and, pouring 
himself a second, reseated himself at the table. 

**Do stop that damned snivelling," he 
growled irritably. 

The sounds — save of an occasional smothered 
sob — ceased, but the tears still steadily trickled 
down the cheeks of the woman. She held her 
handkerchief in her hand, with which from 
time to time she dried her eyes, but she sat 
gazing steadily through the window into the 
street beyond, and took no further notice of 
her husband. 

The man, with his trembling fingers, clumsily 
opened some of the letters waiting on the table, 
instinctively sorting into a pile by themselves 
the ones in those commercial-shaped envelopes 
of which he could guess the contents. He 
turned these over, and read the names on 
the backs, and pitched them unopened into the 
fireplace. He knew whafr-they were about — 
they could be nothing but requests for payment, 
and he had no money to pay with, so what 
was the good of troubling to read them ? 

There was a letter from his colonel, inti- 
mating as courteously as was possible, that it 

74 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



might save unpleasantness if Captain Nevile 
would send in his papers. He had expected 
this for weeks past, during which time he had 
dreaded to hear the knock of the postman, but, 
now the blow had actually fallen, he felt a 
certain sense of relief. Any end of prolonged 
expectancy is a cessation of anxiety, and he had 
known this particular ending was bound to 
come. Two months ago he felt he might still 
somehow stave it off, but when his brother 
officers had finally decided they could not help 
him, he had known that the candid revelation 
to them of the state of his affairs had practically 
been equivalent to a resignation. He knew 
his colonel, and that twenty-four hours' delay 
would make no difference, and he could resign 
his commission with a good enough grace after 
he had netted a fortune. Under such circum- 
stances, the world would be ready enough to 
believe he did it simply because he himself was 
sick of soldiering. And as he leaned back in 
his chair, thinking, staring stupidly at, the open 
letter, the wonderful optimism of the man, the 
strange, unreasoning confidence of the gambler, 
broke out, and the light came back to his eyes. 
He set his teeth. 

** Damn him I " he said, thinking of his 
coming triumph. ^^ I'll make him pay I One 

75 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

can do anything with money, and, by God, I'll 
make him pay I " and he ripped the letter into 
fragments. 

Hard as it had been, Nevile had hung on. 
It had been an awful time, and he knew that, 
rich as he expected to be for the future, he 
would never forget those awful weeks which 
had drawn out so slowly as he had waited for 
the day of the Oaks to arrive. He had 
contrived to pay his trainer a substantial sum on 
account ; he had accomplished much in other 
directions, for by a dexterous distribution of 
what money he had managed to get hold of, 
and by lavish promises of shares in his winnings, 
he had kept his creditors qUiet for the remain- 
ing interval. Gordon alone had been obdurate, 
and in utter despair he had gone to see Ashley 
Tempest, a barrister acquaintance, with whom 
he had been fairly intimate in his more 
prosperous days. 

He had been lucky in catching Tempest 

on the stairs leading to his chambers. He 

was just returning from the Courts, and 

would, as Nevile well knew, have been glad 

of any excuse to get out of an interview. 

But, from a sense of decency. Tempest felt 

compelled to accord one, and had asked the 

other into his rooms after being informed 

76 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the journey had been made in the hope of 
seeing him. 

Captain Nevile, who was no fool and knew 
Tempest was a busy man, wasted no time in 
coming to the point. He briefly told the other 
of his indebtedness to the Jew and that he 
stood to receive ;^8 0,000 if Finality won the 
Oaks, and that he wanted simply to stave olF 
the Jew till then. 

" If she wins I'm all right ; if she loses, 
well the thing is so absolutely hopeless that 
it isn't worth while trying to pull round, 
and I shan't bother to make the attempt. I 
shall just go under and have done with it ; but 
with this chance, I don't want to throw up the 
sponge before it comes off. Can you suggest 
anything ? " 

** I suppose you daren't trust Gordon to run 
the mare straight if you let him distrain ? He 
couldn't touch your bets, you know." 

" No ; I thought of that ; in fact, he made the 
offer ; but it would pay him so much better for 
her to lose. You know it's always said that he 
finances or else is a partner or something with 
Dick Sorrel." 

" You mean Sorrel the bookmaker ? " 

The other nodded in assent. 

**You know," said Tempest, "if it's only 

77 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

time you want you can get that easily enough 
by starting an action and bringing your account 
with Gordon into Court for revision as an 
unconscionable bargain. What's the interest 
work out at ? " 

" God knows. I don't. IVe had £s^^y ^^^ 
he says I owe him ;Ci500 now. Dare say I do." 

" If it ever comes to trial, I don't say you 
would win in such an action, but it's * uncon- 
scionable ' enough primd facie to start a case 
and make a good enough show with to be 
certain of sufficient delay for your purpose. 
But you want a good man to act for you. 
Who's your solicitor ? *' 

" Haven't indulged in such a luxury of late. 
The lawyers of my respectable days declined to 
act for me some time ago. I owe 'em a fairly 
big bill, and my recent actions have all gone by 
default. That way always keeps the costs down 
at any rate, if it doesn't win the verdict." 

Tempest thought for a few moments, then 
added— 

" Well you seem to be fairly desperate as far 
as your affairs go. If you take my advice 
you'll go and see a solicitor I know — ^John 
Harris, Leadenhall Street. He's as keen and 
smart a man as there is in the City, a deuce of 
a lot smarter than Gordon, and he's a straight- 

78 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

forward fellow. I rather like him. Tell him 
frankly how the thing stands. I warn you, 
don't humbug him with fairy tales, or you'll 
regret it ; play him fairly, and I think you'll 
find he'll do what you want and give you credit 
for his account till you can handle your winnings. 
I'm not sure he wouldn't for the sport of the 
thing. Anyhow, go and see him ; tell him 
what I said, and he'll find plenty of ways to 
keep Gordon's hands off you and Finality for 
the next few weeks." 

*^ I say, I'm most awfully obliged to you, 
Tempest." 

" Oh, that's all right. Good afternoon." 

** Er — may I tell Mr. Harris to put your fee 
for this consultation down in his bill ? Other- 
wise I'm too broke to offer you more than a 
guinea now." 

** Holy Moses, man ; what are you thinking 
of? Why, I should be disbarred if the Bar 
Council got to hear of such a thing. Don't 
tell Harris or anybody else, and don't you 
fancy yourself either that you've had a con- 
sultation with me. I've just given you a 
friendly tip, that's all." 

The tip had answered uncommonly well, 
and as Nevile sat at the breakfast-table that 
morning thinking over all he had gone through 

79 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

in the last few weeks, his heart warmed to the 
marvellous astuteness and ability which had 
kept the moneylender writhing impotently at 
the delay, which was defeating his plans so 
carefully laid, so closely calculated. 

Nevile chuckled, and the appetite for the 
enjoyment of life came slowly back. His 
troubles were over ; he had pulled through, and 
that afternoon would see him a wealthy man. 

He rang the bell, which, after a protracted 
interval, was answered by a typical lodging- 
house "general." A dirty pink cotton frock, 
the placquet hole staring wide from the gathers, 
a still dirtier apron with a hole in it, a pent- 
house of a fringe, a black smear across her 
sallow, pasty face, her arms bare and coal- 
smudged to the elbows, showed her to be what 
she was, a fifth-rate drab of a servant and 
worth little at that. She poked her head round 
the door and snivelled. 

" Yes," she said at length, as Nevile took no 
notice of her. 

" Why hasn't the paper come ? " 

" The boy said 'is borders were not to leave, 
no more till you paid." 

" Insolent I " muttered Nevile. 

" That's wot *e said," answered the girl, and 
she slammed the door. 

80 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

The man laughed, for the humour of the 
situation appealed to him, and every moment 
he felt more light-hearted. 

" Bessie," he said at last, turning to his wife, 
" have you got any money left ? " I should 
like to see Finality win the Oaks, and I've only 
a few coppers in my pocket." 

" Money ! Where am I to get money from ? " 
she asked wearily. " No, Fve got none. Why 
should I have ? It's two months since you 
gave me any." 

"Haven't you any jewellery you could 
pawn ? I'll never have such a chance again. 
Even money won't buy you an Oaks winner ? " 

The woman had answered his previous 
question in the dull, leaden, unthinking mono- 
tone to which she had of late confined all her 
conversation, and had not troubled to look 
round as she spoke, but at the second question 
she turned sharply and rose to her feet as she 
faced her husband. 

"Pawn my jewellery, indeed! That's all 
that's left of it ; " and she threw her wedding- 
ring on the table. "Morton, do you never 
think ? What do you suppose we've been 
living on the last four weeks ? " and her voice 
rose in anger. " What do you think I ran the 

flat on for the last six months we lived there ? 

8i r 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Where d'you think the rent here came from ? 
How do you think the food you've been eating 
and the whiskey you've been drinking was paid 
for ? " (He shrugged his shoulders.) ** Speak, 
you fool ! " 

"I didn't know! I didn't know it was 
paid for." 

" Then it's damned little you know of some 

landladies or some lodgings. I've pawned my 

jewellery bit by bit. I've nothing left. I've 

pawned my clothes, and this dress I'm wearing 

is the only one I possess, and then you come 

and ask me for money. I paid my very last 

penny yesterday to buy you that whiskey, and 

the only return I got was that you sat up half 

the night till you were too drunk to undress 

yourself when you came to bed. I've known 

the world pretty well in my lifetime, and I've 

known a good many men. They were all 

selfish, every one of them right down rank 

selfish ; but as there's a God above, Morton, 

you're the most selfish of the lot. It's just 

your beastly self you think about. Do you 

care what I suffer ? Not a bit. Money ! go 

and ask your swagger lady friends for it. You 

always preferred their company to mine as long 

as they'd know you. Go to your fine lady 

friends for it See if they'll help you now ; for 

82 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I tell you straight, Morton, I've done all that I 
can do for you, and I shan't do any more — no, 
I'm damned if I do. Go, I tell you I " and her 
voice rose to a hoarse scream as she shouted in 
her passion. " Go and borrow from your swell 
ladies. Too good they've thought themselves 
to know me, unless you've been too ashamed 
of me to tell 'em you married me. * Women 
of your own class,' you called 'em — tarts, that's 
what they are, all the lot of them — tarts same 
as me, but in better clothes — worse than me, 
because why ? Because they had a chance and 
I hadn't." 

The man's eyes blazed in fury as in her scorn 
she leaned over the table and pointed dramati- 
cally towards the door as she spoke. 

" Go ! " she repeated. " Go and ask your 
rich fancy woman." 

" What do you mean ? Answer me 1 " and 
he caught her by the wrist and shook her. 

She wrenched her arm free from his grasp, 
and stood there, passion, temper, jealousy all 
fighting for the mastery. He could see her 
bosom panting up and down as she fought to 
control herself, and in the very thick of the 
hatred and loathing with which he regarded her, 
he could not but adniit to himself that his 
judgment of her beauty had been right. 

83 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

She walked slowly to the window, and resting 
her hand upon it, waited for some minutes 
before she again faced him. The storm had 
passed, and there was a certain dignity about 
the woman as, in a low, monotonous voice, she 
again began to speak. 

" Morton,** she said, " you can believe it or 
not, as you please — I don't very much care 
whether you do or whether you don't — but I 
married you against my better judgment because 
I loved you. I loved you as I had never loved 
any other man, as few men ever have been 
loved. Please don't trouble to sneer," she 
added ; ** I know quite well what you think. 
I did love you deeply. I've worked for you, 
slaved for your comfort, done everything I 
could think of that seemed to me you would 
like. What has been my return ? My life has 
been one chronic state of misery with your 
duns. You have insulted me and abused me ; 
you've ill-treated me ; you've been unfaithful 
to me. I could get a divorce for the asking, 
but I've not the money to, and if I had I 
shouldn't bother. My life with you has been 
one long unending misery, and through it all 
I've loved you. Morton, Finality is running 
in the Oaks to-day, and this afternoon you will 
be either a wealthy man or you will be penniless 

84 




The D anger ville Inheritance 

and hopeless. It seems likely she will win. 
If it were certain, or even likely, that she 
would lose, I would say no more, for perhaps 
then you would be glad even of me and my 
help, and for the love I used to have for you — 
oh yes, I think it's quite dead now — I would 
still try, but it seems probable she will win. 
Well then, before you or I know, whilst it is 
still in doubt, I want to say one thing. I am 
blind sick of my life. You show me too 
plainly you are tired of me, and you wish 
me out of your sight, and I am going to 
end it, and in an hour or so I am going to 
leave you for ever. I've done all I can do 
for you and I'm evidently a failure, and I'm 
going." 

She moved across the room to the folding 
doors, and as she was passing from the one 
room to the other, the man spoke with a sneer. 
She paused in the doorway. 

" Oh, I've heard all that before," he said. 

" Yes ; but I mean it now. I told you I am 
going.'* 

"Where?" 

She looked at him steadily through and 
through, and the man was ashamed, and his 
eyes fell. Huskily he repeated — 

** Where?" 

8S 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

■ ■ 

** I'm going back to the streets, where you 
took me from." 

• ••••• 

He had let her accusation of his infidelity 
pass unchallenged, but he was puzzled to guess 
how she knew. Did she know ? or was it only 
a guess ? And which ? 

He could hear her moving about in the next 

room. Was she really packing up to go, or 

would it all fizzle out again as it had done once 

before when she had threatened to leave him ? 

And then his eyes caught sight of a little screw 

of paper on the floor. He had noticed when 

she had flared out at him that her fingers were 

clenched on a letter, and he had seen her 

nervously screwing it up as she talked. This 

must be it. He picked it up and smoothed it 

out, and was amazed to see it was the note he 

had received from Lady Dangerville when she 

had sent him the money. He was annoyed, 

for he quite thought he had destroyed it. He 

read the note through again to see if Bessie could 

have gathered from it what it was about. No, 

that was difficult without a knowledge of its 

context. Besides, it wasn't signed ; but then, his 

wife would recognize the writing easily enough. 

There had been a time when notes from Lady 

Dangerville had been very constantly lying 

86 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

about. And then, as he read the note a second 
time, it slowly dawned on him that it was 
capable of a second construction — the obvious 
construction to any one ignorant of the matter 
it really referred to. His horror slowly in- 
creased as he realized from Bessie's recent 
remarks that that was what she thought. And 
then he remembered that when she had read in 
a Society journal the announcement of the birth 
of Lady Dangerville's daughter, she had asked 
him if he were the father. He had, of course, 
denied it, a denial which he had seen plainly 
she only half believed. He knew he must put 
the matter right at once for Lady Dangerville's 
sake, and with the letter in his hand, he rose 
and moved towards the bedroom. 

At that moment there was a violent peal at 
the street door bell, and involuntarily he waited 
to hear who it was. Up the stairs from the 
kitchen, and then along the linoleum in the 
hall, shuffle and flop went the slippers and 
the slipshod footsteps of the servant. The 
sticks and umbrellas jarred noisily in the zinc 
pans of the hatstand as the girl lurched against 
it, and then he heard his own name. Evidently 
a visitor for him. There was a little parleying, 
and then a slight scuffle, and Gordon, pushing 
the girl aside, burst into the sitting-room. 

87 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Nevile no longer felt inclined to cringe to 
Gordon. He would pay the Jew off as soon 
as he touched his money, and he would need 
no further favours, and his manhood came back 
to him. 

** What the devil are you doing here ? And 
who gave you leave to invade my rooms ? " 

The moneylender, quite unmoved, de- 
liberately drew a chair up to the table, pushed 
a clear space before him amongst the breakfast 
things, and spread out some papers which he 
took from his pocket. Then he removed his 
frayed and worn-out silk hat, and leant bick 
in his chair as Captain Nevile renewed his 
question. 

The malevolence on the fece of the Jew 
seemed more devilish than usual as he answered, 
quite unmoved — 

" Nobody, my friend, nobody." 

**Then what the hell do you mean by 
coming ? '* 

" I've just come to have one big final settle- 
ment with you, my fine fellow. Now then, 
you know the amount. I want the money, so 
pay up." 

« Go to blazes 1 *• 

The Jew's eyes were peering out like live 
coals beneath his bushy eyebrows, his face 

88 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

twitched, and Nevile could not keep his eyes 
off a blue scar that disfigured the lower of 
Gordon's fleshy, slobbering lips. The man 
spluttered in impotent rage. 

"You dirty dog ! YouVe cheated and 
swindled me long enough, and I mean to have 
that money. Here I stay till I get it." 

The soldier withdrew his left hand from his 
trouser pocket, holding out a few copper coins 
for the other's inspection. 

" Where do you think you're going to get it 
from ? That's every darned red cent I've got." 
And he laughed a mocking laugh as he gently 
clicked the coins together in his hand, and 
finally put them back into his pocket. " Why 
don't you curb this magnificent impatience of 
yours, Gordon, till this afternoon ? Harris and 
I between us have kept you dancing like a cat 
on hot bricks for the last two months. To-day 
Finality is going to win, you ass 1 Why don't 
you keep on dancing for a few hours longer, 
and come back, then I'll give you a cheque," — 
and added as an afterthought — " but it will have 
to be post-dated over settling-day." 

Shylock crowing over Antonio could not 
have leered with more loathsome jubilation 
than did Gordon as he watched Nevile. 

"So you think Finality is going to romp 

89 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

in a winner to-day, do you ? You think that 
still, when it will break the ring if she wins, and 
when every bookmaker for weeks past has been 
trying to nobble the mare's chances in some way." 

" I'm quite aware of that." 

** You think that precious trainer of yours 
will play you square, do you ? He's a wrong 
'un for you, if you like — ought to be in 
Holloway." 

A thin contemptuous smile played on the 
other's lips. 

"So you've been trying to *get at* him 
yourself, have you, Gordon ? Well, to be 
perfectly candid with you, you blood-sucking, 
double-dealing Judas, I think he is rather a 
bigger rogue than you are yourself, and that's 
saying a good deal, isn't it, my friend ? Well, 
I happen to know that my charming trainer- 
man has betted so heavily on Finality, and 
stands to win so much, that he couldn't possibly 
get on enough the other way to make it worth 
his while to even think of doing other than 
letting the mare win. No, Isaac ! I've no 
anxiety on that score." 

" Ah, but how about your jockey ? ** 

Nevile sat up and leaned forward in his 
chair, marking time in the air with his fore- 
finger as he answered — 

90 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

** Gordon, I know the boy. I've good cause 
to, and I tell you that if I knew for a fact that 
every other man was crooked in this very 
crooked sporting world, I'd still believe that 
boy was perfectly straight. Mark my words, 
now. Finality can win, and she is meant to 
win, and you will see that she will be first past 
the post for the Oaks this afternoon." 

The Jew heaved a huge sigh of relief. 

"I'm glad to hear it. I've got a very pretty 
little bet on the mare myself." 

Nevile's gorge rose, and he longed to pitch 
the other man, neck and crop, through the 
window. He had simply been pumping him 
after all. 

** Then it was you, was it, monkeying with 
the market a fortnight ago, when she went back 
to ten to one. I wondered who was sending all 
those infernal lies round the place about her. 
Broken a blood-vessel— coughing — broken down 
in her training — strained her back. You were 
simply trying to get your own dirty halfpence 
on her at a good price." 

"Dirty halfpence indeed. I've put ;C5000 
on the mare." 

Nevile whistled. ** The devil you have ! " 

** Yes, and my winnings are a bit safer than 
some of yours." 

9X 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" What do you mean ? ** thundered the 
soldier. 

" Ah 1 I thought I could upset you, my fine 
fellow." 

The Jew took from his papers a copy of an 
evening paper of the day before, and pointed 
to a short paragraph, which stated that a re- 
ceiving order had been issued against the well- 
known Turf Commission Agent, Mr. Robert 
Parr. 

Nevile had been counting on receiving some 
^10,000 in that quarter, and the news plainly 
upset him. 

Gordon gloated over his discomfiture, and 
then composedly sorted over his papers before 
him on the table. He took a bill from an 
envelope, and leaning across the table he held 
it before the eyes of Captain Nevile, who to 
his astonishment saw it was a bill for ;^iooo, 
accepted by Mr. Richard Sorrel "for value 
received.*' It was only dated the previous day. 

" What do you make of that ? " 

Nevile was too surprised to immediately 
gather its import, but the money-lender helped 
him out. 

** I think you told me one of your biggest 

bets was with that gentleman," hissed Gordon. 

" Well, he- is gone broke. Derby Day finished 

9a 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

him ofF, and he had to borrow from me to pay 
up what he owed, and make a new start. 
Your money, my friend, doesn't look what you 
call hopeful, does it ? " 

It was ;^ 1 5,000 he was expecting to recover 
from Sorrel. In all probability his chance of 
ever getting it had vanished. 

Gordon carefully folded up the bill and put 
it back amongst his papers. It had been a 
heavy slap in the face for Nevile, for it left him 
but ;^5 5,000 to receive. Of this ;^50oo was 
distributed amongst various snjaller members of 
the Ring, but the remaining ;^50,ooo was to 
come from Topping and Spindler, of Flushing, 
whom he knew were, figuratively speaking, as 
safe as the Bank of England. 

**When I go to this wonderfully clever 
Mr. Harris of yours," continued the Jew, 
"and tell him these little facts, I think 
he'll say what I say of you, that you are a 
dirty, swindling thief, and a pauper ; " and he 
craned out his skinny neck towards the soldier, 
and shook his fist before the other's eyes, as 
his long, ill-kempt beard wagged in Nevile's 
face. 

The man mouthing away in front of him was 
a comical sight, and Nevile burst into a peal of 
laughter. This was more than the Jew could 

93 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

stomach, and losing all control of himself he 
spat straight in the other's face. 

Without the hesitation of a moment Nevile 
knocked the man down like a ninepin, and, 
opening the door of his room and the front 
door in quick succession, he returned, picked 
up the other man, and, holding him at arms* 
length above his head, carried him outside and 
pitched him down the half-dozen steps between 
the door and the footpath. 

Gordon fell with a heavy crash and a groan ; 
but presently he picked himself up, his teeth 
broken, his mouth cut and bleeding, and a 
heavy bruise on his forehead. 

The big soldier remained in the doorway, 
looking down at his victim, and the Jew 
turned, evidently meditating a rush at his 
opponent. But, the physical cowardice inherent 
in him prevailed, and he slunk off, muttering 
curses under his breath. 

Nevile returned to his sitting-room and 
listened. He could hear no sound from the 
inner room, and he wondered if his wife were 
still there. He looked at the clock. It was 
but shordy after ten, and he wondered if he 
could manage to get to Epsom by walking. 
But he recoiled from the chance of meeting 
any one he knew, and he decided not to do it. 

Q4 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

There was the heavy rat-tat of the postman on 
the door, and Nevile, as he heard the rattle of 
the letter-flap, went into the hall and picked up 
a letter for himself. The envelope was covered 
with addresses. It had been sent originally to 
his club, and had been kept there some time 
before being posted on, and then it had fol- 
lowed him, redirected, from address after 
address. He wondered why it had been 
addressed to his club, for he had not used 
that address for some time. He opened the 
letter to find it was dated nearly two months 
ago, and was from Topping and Spindlen 
They curtly informed him that a cheque of his 
had been dishonoured, and they requested cash 
in lieu. They reminded him that his cheques 
had been dishonoured on several previous occa- 
sions, and one cheque they still had in their 
hands unredeemed. They concluded their 
letter by saying that if the matter were the 
result of an accident, they would be glad to 
hear from him with the necessary remittance, 
with any explanation he had to oiFer ; but 
otherwise he could hardly expect them to con- 
tinue to do business with him, and failing an 
early and satisfactory reply, his name would be 
removed from their books, and all fiirther bets 
entered to him would be cancelled. 

95 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Nevile had dreaded the cheque being re- 
turned, but as the days went on, and he had 
heard nothing, he presumed his bankers had 
paid it after all in spite of their threats, and he 
had consequently been easy in his mind about 
his bets. 

And now at the end for this to happen ! He 
thought of everything, but he could see no way 
in which he could put matters right. His 
brain seemed stupefied and numb, and he 
walked backwards and forwards in his room, 
vainly trying to think. At last he seated him- 
self, and, resting his head on his hands, broke 
down and cried like a little child. But his 
emotion soon passed, and then he sat there 
turning things over in his mind. He put a 
cigarette in his mouth, and blindly hunted for a 
match. Finding none, he methodically tore the 
letter into strips, which he made into spills, lit 
one at the fire and lighted his cigarette, then 
knocked out the flame of the spill and put it, 
half burnt • as it was, with the others in one 
of the vases on the mantelpiece. Then he 
laughed, for he couldn't help the uncalled 
thought that, if in the first place he had been 
but half as careful with his money as he had 
been with the spills, things would have gone 

differendy with him. And after, as he grew 

96 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

calmer, he began to calculate again. If Finality- 
won, there would still be ;^5000 to receive. But 
his debts would more than swamp this, and he 
could stave them ofF no longer. He would have 
to settle up, and he would be left without a penny 
in the world, without a profession, and owing 
several thousand pounds. God in heaven, 
what a sideways ending to all his dreams and 
hopes ! And then he remembered what the 
Jew had said, and the contrast was too much 
for him. He could have shrieked aloud. 
Here he, Morton Nevile, the owner of Finality, 
would net nothing by her winning, whilst 
Gordon, the source of so much of his trouble, 
must stand to gain nearly ;^40,ocx5. It was 
the very irony of ironies, and he cursed the 
Jew with all the force left in him. 

Meanwhile, the Jew had wended his way 
back. With every step he placed between 
them his courage rose, and at last he could 
stand it no longer. Perhaps, if he swallowed 
the affront, he could persuade Nevile to sign a 
new bill. If the mare won it would be 
honoured in due course ; if she lost, well, it 
would seem a cleaner asset to disclose in court 
than one of the bills he already held, upon 
which the inserted date was considerably before 
the date upon the stamp. What had imposed 

97 G 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

on Nevile would not impose on a court 
of law. 

The Jew stood and pondered in the middle 
of the footpath for some time, then finally 
decided to do it, and retraced his steps to 
Captain Nevile's lodgings* 



•'v 



98 



Chapter VII 



IT was the interval before the big race 
of the day, and the Oaks competitors 
were being attended to in the paddock. 
Finality, by now and for some little 
time past an " odds on " favourite, was the 
centre of all attraction as her toilet was being 
completed. If looks and past performances 
went for anything, or if the well-considered 
opinions of men who were past masters in 
the great game were of value, the race was 
already over bar the shouting. As one lifelong 
enthusiast of racing put it, "There's nothing 
in the paddock that can come near her, and 
I don't see how she can lose." 

Away in Tattersall's ring, the usual busy 
scene was in progress. The public had left off 
buying money, and the wagering had become 
slack in spite of the tempting prices which the 
pencillers were offering about any other animal 
than Finality. 

For a wonder, Dick Sorrel that morning 
seemed disinclined to begin business. After- 
wards, everybody said that they had noticed he 
appeared to be dazed. For some time he stood 
looking round, genially chaffing the crowd as 

99 



404'Vb;^ 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

was his wont, and listening to the prices 
shouted out by others, but declining the bets 
that were offered to him. All of a sudden he 
raised his voice, and in stentorian tones, he 
shouted — 

" I'll lay ten to one against Finality." 

Immediately there was a hush all round, and 
like a blare from a trumpet came a renewal of 
the offer. 

Then things became lively, for every betting 
man in the place wanted to wager on those terms. 
His clerk was busy writing down the bets, 
which were accepted as fast as offered. 

One or two bookmakers, following Dick 
Sorrel's lead for a short time, offered similar 
terms, but quickly dropped them. There was 
the mare in the paddock as fit as a fiddle, and 
Sorrel had had freaks before. The risk wasn't 
good enough to take, but he had paralyzed all 
other betting. Rumours were quickly passed 
round that Sorrel was drunk, but obviously, as 
all the world could see, he was sober, and then 
the rumours became even more sinister, but 
still his clerk wrote down the bets, and still 
Sorrel accepted them. 

At length, a well-known sporting journalist 

went to him. 

** Dick," he said, " do you know what you're 

zoo 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

doing ? Add up your book, man. There isn*t 
enough money amongst the lot of you to pay 
your bets if Finality wins." 

" Mind your own business ! " 

" Dick, we're old friends. I want to do you 
a good turn ; you'll be broke if the mare wins." 

" Has she won yet, my friend ? '* 

**No, but she's pretty certain to win, and 
then you are done for." 

" Right ; then I may as well be hung for a 
sheep as a lamb. Here 1 I'll lay twenty to one 
against Finality I " 

In paralyzed amazement, the rest of the ring 
simply gazed idly at the spectacle of Dick 
Sorrel going blindly to destruction. 

One of the biggest plungers on the turf 
walked across and asked — 

" Are you still laying against Finality ? " 

"Yes, my Lord. I'll give you twenty to 



one." 



'* A thousand ? " gently queried the young 

Peer, as he raised his eyebrows. 

" Yes, and again if you like.** 

" Very well." 

« And again ? '* 

" Very well." 

And Dick Sorrel stood to lose sixty thousand 

pounds on that one bet alone* 

zox 



vJ X >« 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Dick, they've sent for a straight waistcoat 
and the ambulance," called out one of his 
brother bookmakers. 

" Ambulance, have they ; are you . feeling 
bad ? " 

"They're hunting for a doctor to certify 
you ; they've got half a dozen J.P.'s ready." 

"Well, then, I must book my bets first. 
Here," he called out as the bets began to 
slacken, " I'll lay thirty to one against 
Finality." 

And just at the moment the horses swept by 
in the preliminary canter, Finality moving with 
her long sweeping, swinging stride, looking fit 
to win the race twice over. And the real price 
about Finality had been five to four on. 

Dick Sorrel stopped betting. 

"No, my lad, I've got enough down," he 
said to a late comer. "I'm going to enjoy 
the pleasure of watching the racing now ; " 
and a man standing near gave a loud guffaw. 
Dick generally watched the racing from a 
refreshment bar when he wasn't busy with the 
betting. 

In a very short time the race was over. Far 
away the best animal of her year (" A pity she 
wasn't entered for the Derby," was the popular 
verdict), perfectly trained, perfectly ridden, 

Z02 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Finality came in a winner by half a dozen 
lengths. She had never been properly ex- 
tended, or she would simply have made 
" hacks " of all the rest of the field. The mare 
might have merely been taking an exercise 
gallop. 

Sorrel, who had made but few ready-money 
bets, had sufficient funds to discharge his small 
immediate liabilities which he paid without 
comment. His face was grave, but he had till 
settling-day on Monday to find the money. 
He left the ring amongst much facetious advice 
to " pawn the old woman*s flat-irons," to " give 
up drink and save," to be careful " not to rob 
the kids' money-boxes," and various remarks of 
that nature, but he did no more betting that 
day, and it needed but a short interval before 
the rumour passed round the course that Dick 
Sorrel, probably the best known and certainly 
the best liked bookmaker in the kingdom, was 
done for. 

As the crowd began to slowly drift away 
from the course that afternoon it was met by 
the yelling newsboys with the evening papers. 
Then the consternation began, for they con- 
tained the bald announcement that shortly 
before four o'clock Captain Nevile had been 
found dead in his rooms, shot through the 

X03 



«ii 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

temple. The exact hour of his death was as yet 
unknown. Thereafter followed wild conftision, 
because, if Nevile had been dead when the race 
was run, Finality was not the winner, for her 
entry had become void. 



T04 




Chapter VIII 



THE inquest took place, in due course, 
on the following day. The only 
witness of importance called was 
Ellen Jones, the servant at Captain 
Nevile*s lodgings. She told how the last 
occasion she had seen Captain Nevile was when 
she opened the door to the Jew. She had not 
had any further occasion to enter the room. 
Neither Captain Nevile or Mrs. Nevile ever 
took lunch in their lodgings. Her mistress 
was ill in bed that day, and she had been extra 
busy and had quite forgotten all about clearing 
the breakfast things away until she wanted the 
teaspoons for tea for the other lodgers. She had 
thought that Captain Nevile and Mrs. Nevile 
were out. They usually were during the day. 
Captain Nevile always was. She had gone up 
to the room just before four o'clock and found 
both the doors locked. No, that was not very 
unusual ; lodgers often locked their rooms when 
they went out. She had gone back to the 
basement to get her mistress's key, which would 
unlock any of the doors, and then she found 
she couldn't use it because the other key was in 

the lock on the inside. But she wriggled her 

los 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

key about and then tried with a hairpin, and 
finally the other key fell out of the lock into 
the room, where she picked it up afterwards. 
/ When she got into the room she found Captain 
Nevile lying on the floor dead. " Yes," in 
answer to questions, ** she had heard a scuffle 
in the rooms and quarrelling in loud voices 
after she had admitted Mr. Gordon. No ; she 
wasn*t in the habit of listening at doors, and 
had no idea what they were quarrelling about. 
As far as she could recollect, she did not go 
inside the room again till tea-time. Yes ; that 
was so ; from ten o'clock to four o'clock, nobody 
went in that she knew. The front door was 
always kept locked, and she was the only 
person who answered it, and she had not 
admitted any one during the day. Yes ; all 
the other lodgers had latchkeys. No ; she had 
not heard the sound of any pistol-shot during 
the day, but there was always such a lot of 
traffic and noise in the road, that she could 
never hear the street bell when she was up- 
stairs. Yes ; she was upstairs doing the bed- 
rooms most of the morning. She saw Mrs. 
Nevile at breakfast-time, but had not seen her 
since, and had no idea at what time she went 
out. She had not come back to the house, 

and nobody appeared to know her present 

io6 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

whereabouts. No ; she had touched nothing 
in the room ; she had simply run to the front 
door and screamed. A policeman had come 
running up." 

The constable was next called, and corro- 
borated the previous witness. He described the 
position in which he found the body. 

Mr. Ashley Tempest rose and asked the 
permission of the coroner to put a few questions 
to the witness. 

The coroner testily asked on whose behalf he 
appeared, and what authority he had for his 
intrusion. 

Tempest at once admitted he was there only 
by the courtesy of the coroner, and said that as 
yet his presence was slightly informal. 

"May I point out to you, sir," he said, 
" that you are holding this inquest to ascertain 
the cause of death and no more." 

*^ I don't require you to teach me my busi- 
ness." 

" Quite so. I had not that intention. The 

police, into whose hands the matter will perhaps 

subsequently pass — certainly so if the verdict 

be one of murder — will be simply concerned to 

find out the manner of death and the murderer, 

if it be murder. Neither inquiry will touch 

upon a very important point, viz. the exact 

107 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

time of death. As most people are aware, 
Captain Nevile was the owner of a filly known 
by the name of Finality, which won the Oaks 
yesterday. If Captain Nevile were alive when 
that race was run, the result stands ; but if he 
had died previously, it becomes void. I don't 
think I am exaggerating when I say the question 
is of vast importance to practically the whole of 
the racing world, and that many hundreds of 
thousands of pounds are at issue on the point. 
Recognizing this, one of the stewards of the 
Jockey Club, knowing how all important time 
sometimes is in investigating these points, has 
taken the responsibility of having me instructed 
to appear on behalf of the Jockey Club, and 
assist in any way in my power the authorities in 
their investigation, and in so doing, it is hoped, 
this and other courts will permit us at the same 
time to try and ascertain the exact hour at 
which death took place. I may add that the 
Jockey Club are also paying the well-known 
private detective, Mr. Dennis Yardley, to 
endeavour to elucidate the mystery." 

The coroner protested against his court being 
made a settling-room for gambling debts, but 
grudgingly gave Tempest permission to proceed, 
and at once the latter asked the witness whether 
he had found any pistol or revolver in the room. 

zo8 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

« No, sir." 

" Did you search the room carefully ? " 

" Yes, sir — ^very carefully." 

" Was the room disarranged, as if there had 
been a struggle ? " 

** Captain Neville in falling had evidently 
clutched at the table-cloth, and dragged it partly 
off as he fell, for some of the breakfast-things 
were on the floor broken." 

"Did you search the room for letters or 
papers ? " 

" No, sir ; but I saw some lying about." 

After a few remarks from the coroner, the 
jury promptly brought in a verdict of murder 
against some person or persons unknown, and 
the proceedings came to a close. 

The inquest had been held in the drawing- 
room, and, after the coroner and the jury had 
left the house. Tempest managed to get rid of 
one or two enterprising and inquisitive reporters, 
and went back to Captain Nevile's room, only 
to find himself confronted by the landlady, 
who wanted to know who was going to pay 
her rent. 

" My dear good woman, I don't know. I'm 

not the executor of Captain Nevile. You must 

apply to his wife." 

The woman continued maundering on with 

109 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

her grievances, until at last Tempest agreed 
to pay at least for a fortnight's rent for the 
rooms in advance, providing the key was 
handed over to him, so that the rooms could 
remain exactly as they were. 

The landlady thus got rid of. Tempest called 
in the constable, who, by reason of a heavy 
tip, had been waiting in the hall, and put him 
through a searching cross-examination. It ap- 
peared he had found the body with the head a 
short distance from the bay window which filled 
the greater part of the end of the room. The 
body was lying on its back, the right arm 
thrown out and reaching to within a few inches 
of the side-light of the bay. The bullet-wound 
was just above the right temple. The wound 
was small, and had practically caused no blood- 
shed at all. 

" Why wasn't a doctor sent for last night ? *' 
** There was one sent for ; but there was 
some mistake over it. I don't know the rights 
of it myself ; but they can tell you all about it 
at the station, sir. But there was one came 
this afternoon, sir, just before the inquest" 

"Yes; I've had a talk with him," put in 
Yardley. 

" Why didn't they call him at the inquest ? " 
*^Oh, he said he couldn't say anything 

no 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

beyond that death had taken place about 
twenty-four hours previously ; but he wouldn't 
pretend to be able, nor would he attempt to 
say, to an hour or two, what the exact time 
was at which Nevile died. He didn't think 
any doctor would say, or, if he did, it would 
only be a guess." 

** You said some of the breakfast-things were 
on the floor. What were they ? ** 

** There was a cup and saucer — they were 
broken — and the loaf had fallen off, and had 
rolled under that chair, and the plate it was 
on was broken, and the coffee-pot was on the 
floor — that was one of those thick, earthern 
ones, and it had fallen on the carpet and hadn't 
broken, but the coffee was all spilt." 

" Then, that's the stain on the carpet there," 
said Yardley, pointing to the floor. 

" Yes, sir, that's it ; and that's exactly where 
the Captain's foot was." 

" How do you know that ? " 

" Because, when we lifted the body to move 
it on to the bed in the next room, I went to 
his feet, and I remember thinking as I stooped 
down that, as they were in the puddle of coffee, 
they would be wet. But they weren't — they 
were quite dry ; so I felt the carpet, and that 
was quite dry as well." 

Ill 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" When was that ? " 

" Oh, directly after they called us in — about 
four o'clock." 

" Has anybody meddled with the windows ? " 

" No, sin I know I didn't ; and I was in 
the room till we left it ; and I locked it up 
myself; and I know it wasn't opened till it 
was unlocked for the jury to see the room." 

" Well, unless you can think of anything else 
you noticed, I fancy that's all we need trouble 
you for at present. Good afternoon." 

" Good afternoon ; and thank you kindly, 
sir." 

" Well, Yardley, what do you make of it ? 
What do you think ? " 

" Haven't started thinking yet. That's where 
so many, who do my shop, come to grief. 
I'm simply on the absorb yet — looking for 
facts." 

** Well, don't mind about me — I'll smoke ; " 
and Tempest sat down and lighted his cigar as 
Yardley began his minute examination of the 
room. 

Every inch of the walls was scrutinized — 
every inch of the floor. Quietly, methodically, 
systematically Yardley thoroughly examined the 
room. It was the work he liked. On the 
other hand, Tempest loathed the delay. Give 

ZI2 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the latter the facts, and in all probability his 
conclusion was unerring, and often a conclusion 
all others would have overlooked, or a deduc- 
tion they would never have dreamed of making. 
That was why either of the two men welcomed 
a chance which brought him into a case in 
conjunction with the other. Had it not been 
for Tempest's splendid reputation as a barrister, 
not only in criminal, but also in other branches 
of his profession, the probabilities were that his 
reputation would have degenerated into that of 
a detective, so astute had he proved himself in 
unravelling the mysteries of cases in which he 
was briefed from the facts he elicited in cross- 
examination, or which were supplied to him by 
detectives. 

Tempest had smoked steadily through a 
couple of cigars before Yardley had finished, 
and sat down to join him in smoking. 

" Well, what have you found ? " 

"Practically nothing. That window is un- 
fastened, and hasn't been quite shut. That's 
the only thing I see at present. We'll come 
back again to hunt for papers — they might 
give us clues and motives, but at present I 
want traces, and I never found it pay to mix 
motives and traces." 

" Do you think it's murder ? " said Tempest. 

113 H 



The D anger ville Inheritance 

" Pretty certain of it. Can't be suicide, or 
the pistol would be about.** 

" Yes, that seems a sound proposition.*' 
"Well, I found this letter under the coal- 
box ; *' and he passed to Tempest the screwed-up 
paper which Nevile himself had discovered, and 
upon which so much had hung. 

** Yardley, Fve been thinking ** 

** Tm not surprised ; and what conclusion 
have you arrived at ? ** 

"That we've finished here for the Jockey 
Club. We can prove the hour at which he 
died.'* 

The other jumped. 

" Lord ! how are you going to do that ? " 
**The body is found, say, at four o'clock. 
The Oaks was run at three o'clock. I'm going 
to spill a coffee-pot on this carpet. If it takes 
more than an hour to dry, Nevile was dead 
when the Oaks was run." 

" Lord, I never thought of that." 
" No, Yardley, it's rather funny. You're a 
perfect devil for noticing things. For instance, 
I should never have noticed that window ; but 
I never think you get their full value out of 
the things you find out. But we shall have to 
get it tested." 

In the course of the next few days the test 

114 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

was made in the presence of a couple of 
members of the Jockey Club, the editor of 
a sporting paper, and an official receiver. The 
jug of coffee was filled in the ordinary way, 
and two cupfuls were then poured out. The 
jug was then upset upon the carpet, and those 
present sat down to wait for the result The 
conversation was probably one of the strangest 
that had ever taken place, because surely such 
a curious collection of men had seldom been 
gathered together. All were talking for talk- 
ing's sake, simply to kill time. At last a 
story was told which was followed by general 
laughter, and then the restraint was gone. 
The room got hazy with the smoke of cigars, 
and every quarter of an hour one or the other 
would go across to the patch upon the carpet 
and feel it. 

** Tempest," at last said one of them, " how 
did this poor beggar come to his end ? " 
• ** I don't know. Fm not retained to settle 
that point. He was as hard up as hell. The 
servant here says that they had even stopped 
his morning papers because he couldn't pay for 
them. Finality, I find, is leased for the rest 
of her racing career, and then she is sold for 
stud purposes. And Nevile seems to have 
spent the money he got from both sources long 

IIS 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

ago. He had even sold his chance of the 
stake-money. I hear from men in the regiment 
that he hadn't got a penny to bless himself with. 
And yet he owned the mare, and had he only 
livedja^few hours longer he would have been 
wemhy. A good many people knew what he 
stood to win. It's a sideways ending to the 
whole thing, for he wasn't a bad sort of a 
chap till he got so cursedly hard up. It can't 
be suicide, because, sure to goodness, he'd 
have waited to see whether the mare won or 
not, and there are a good many people who 
must have profited by his death." 

" Who's investigating it ? Do you know ? " 

" The police, I suppose." 

" And little me I " put in Yardley. 

"Hullo, I didn't know you were in it 
otherwise." 

" Well, I can't explain," said Yardley, " for 
I don't quite understand myself. I've really 
got nothing to go upon, but I can't get rid of 
the suspicion that Nevile's death is mixed up 
with another little bit of business that was put 
into my hands. At any rate, I am what we call 
making inquiries." 

Slowly the clock marked the time which had 
passed. It was already two hours since the 
coffee had been spilt. The carpet was still wet, 

ii6 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and as one of the representatives of the Jockey 
Club put his hand on the stain, he said — 

" I don't think this will be dry for another 
hour or more." 

The conversation became desultory, and the 
next fifteen minutes passed in silence. They 
were all watching the clock, and, as the half- 
hour struck, they all satisfied themselves that 
the carpet was still wet, and that it was quite 
impossible for the coffee to have been upset 
and then for the carpet to have li^ecome perfectly 
dry in two hours and a half. 

" Then that settles it," said one of them. 
" The dead body was found before four o'clock, 
so he must have been dead before half-past one, 
so Finality did not win the Oaks." 

"It's a pity," put in one of the others. 
"She was a clinking good mare, and I stood 
to have won ;^icx> on her myself, worse luck." 

" You're not the only one. What a deuce 
of a lot of money Sorrel must have won ! " 

"No ; his bets against her are all void." 

"Do you think they will take this experi- 
ment of ours as settiing it, seeing there is such 
an enormous sum of money in it." 

"WeU, the simplest way will be for the 
owner of Gay Girl, who came in next, to 
bring a friendly action against the Jockey Club 

117 



.p-' 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

for the stakes, and we can put all this in as 
evidence. The doctor will prove that Nevile 
must have died instantaneously." 

The meeting broke up, all going their ways 
except Tempest and Yardley, who expressed 
their determination to sit it out until the stain 
was perfectly dry* 

"What's the game, Yardley?" asked 
Tempest, as soon as they were alone. 

"Well, of course, you mustn't treat it as 
gossip, because this is business. Some time 
ago a case of blackmailing was put into my 
hands. There is no evidence to connect 
Nevile with it, but there is a strong suspicion 
that Nevile was at the bottom of it. I needn't 
tell you how I found out all the details. I've 
been working at it some time, but more than 
two months ago Nevile hadn't a darned cent, 
and had no legitimate means of raising any, 
and he applied to the regiment to help him to 
last out the Oaks. They refused, yet Nevile 
seems to have paid his trainer nearly j^iooo 
in bietween. Where did he get the money 
from ? " 

" But why do you pitch on Nevile ? What's 
the connection ? " 

" Well, the man who has been blackmailed 
— it's Lord Dangerville, as a matter of fact — 

ii8 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

always believed that it was Nevile who was 
doing it." 

Tempest whistled. 

" Why, six months ago the whole place was 
talking of Nevile and Lady Dangerville. No- 
body knew Nevile was married." 

"I only heard it a day or two ago," said 
Yardley. " It's a curious tangle." 

" I wonder if this note has got anything to 
do with it ? " said Tempest, as he smoothed out 
the crumpled note which Yardley had found. 

The men smoked on in silence, and then at 
length Tempest said — 

" It seems to me that you are deliberately 
mixing things up. Run the two things 
separately. YouVe got to find out who mur- 
dered Nevile, and you've got to find out who 
wrote the letters. There may be a connection 
between the two, but I can't see it, and, if I 
were you, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that 
there is one. At the same time I think it will 
pay you to find out who did murder the man. 
Now, who are you going to pitch on for the 
murder. Remember I haven't bothered about 
that yet." 

"Well, there's the Jew, Gordon. The 
servant can give evidence of the awful quarrel 
they had. She says they were shouting and 

"9 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



raving like two madmen. Then there is Mrs. 
Nevile, who cleared out that day and has not 
been seen or heard of since." 

** Quite so. But which of these two stood 
to profit by his death. The Jew certainly 
didn't, because, if Nevile had won he could 
have paid off what he owed." 

"Then that puts it very much on to the 
wife. I wonder if she saw this letter ? " 

" If she did, that would give you a motive in 
her case. Yardley, if I were you, I think I'd 
look for that woman.'* 

" Yes, she is where I have been intending to 
begin. There is one thing about it which 
puzzles me. Dick Sorrel, on the day of the 
Oaks, must either have been mad or drunk to 
have betted against Finality as he did — or else 
he knew." 

" I thought of that myself," said Tempest ; 
" but Nevile was alive that morning, and from 
what they were saying this afternoon, there is 
not the slightest doubt that Sorrel was betting 
against the mare nearly as heavily the previous 
day." 

" Then that gives him, at any rate, plenty of 
motive for causing Nevile's death, and I'm by 
no means sure it doesn't look like evidence of 
premeditation." 

I20 




Chapter IX 



IT was a natty little river-side bungalow, 
with the French windows of the draw- 
ing-room opening on a trim, well-kept 
lawn, bordered by geranium beds which 
were a vivid mass of scarlet. On the other 
side of the hedge old Father Thames was 
taking his deliberate course, slowly and lazily 
on towards the sea. Under the shade of one 
of the trees which flanked the lawn was slung a 
hammock. Attired in flannels and a cummer- 
bund, and with a Panama pulled over his eyes, 
a stout, middle-aged man was reclining, puffing 
away at a huge cigar, 'and from time to time 
sipping at a whiskey-and-soda by his side, as he 
perspired in the heat. Across the lawn came a 
smart maid, with streaming cap-strings, holding 
a card on her tray. The man took it, grunted, 
and had another drink at his whiskey-and-soda. 

« AU right, m see him." 

"Shall I show him into the drawing-room, 
sir ? " 

" No ; bring him out here. If he looks 
respectable, bring another glass.'* 

In a moment or two Yardley crossed the 
lawn at the heels of the maid, who this time 

121 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

carried a tumbler on her tray. The detective 
would have been gratified had he known the 
implied tribute to his appearance. 

Sorrel waved his visitor into a deck-chair that 
was standing near the hammock, with the 
remark — 

" What can I do for you, Mr. Yardley ? If 
you are selling sewing machines, or if you're a 
curate in disguise come for a subscription, or 
the piano tuner, or come to see me about a dog, 
I'll tell you at once it's N. G. So we needn't 
waste time over that. Help yourself to some 
whiskey. You can reach it ; I can't." 

Yardley demurred at the proffered hospitality, 
and at once came to the point. 

"Mr. Sorrel, I've come to you for certain 
racing information which I think you can give 



me. 



" But which Tm damned if I do," put in the 
other. " Young man, I've retired. I've made 
my little pile, and I know when to stop. I'm 
intending to spend the evening of my days in 
doing myself proud. This is the start. And 
I don't care if I never see a blooming race 
again, or the tail of another animated hair 
trunk for the rest of my life 1 " 

" Yes, but, Mr. Sorrel, one or two questions, 
perhaps '* 

122 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

But the other interrupted. 

" Young man, I'm shut of the whole business. 
Have a drink." 

Yardley quietly stood up. 

** Will you listen to me for a moment or two, 
Mr. Sorrel ? I see you have no idea who I 
am. I'm a detective, and I am professionally 
engaged to investigate the facts concerning the 
death of Captain Nevile." 

Sorrel lurched upright in the hammock and 
stared at the other in amazement, his eyes pro- 
truding, as Yardley continued — 

"I don't think you've realized how black 
things look against you. I'm not accusing 
you of the murder, but I can't help think- 
ing you know something about it. You 
would have lost an enormous sum but 
for Captain Nevile's death. As far as I can 
find out you are the only man who stood 
to profit appreciably by it. Now, Mr. Sorrel, 
I want you quietly and in cold blood to 
think of it as if it were some one else. 
Knowing perfectly well what the chances were 
that Finality would win, what sane man 
would have betted as you did the day before 
the race was run and on the day of the race 
unless he had known something. The race 

was just a gift to Finality, everybody was 

123 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

betting on that assumption ; and that they were 
right was proved by the way she romped in. 
What I want to know is, why you were betting 
against her ? What did you know ? " 

The man in the hammock puffed steadily 
at his cigar, and with the imperturbable 
good humour his friends knew so well, 
remarked — 

" Young man, youVe got a hades of a cheek 
on you. Here you come down to my salubrious 
river-side establishment — not a bad little shanty, 
is it ? — make yourself at home, drink my 
whiskey — here, why don't you fill up again ? — 
and coolly inform me I'm a blooming murderer, 
and the blandest bit of cheek of the whole God- 
forsaken business is you're asking me to convict 
myself by telling you how I did it. Every 
word I say may be used in evidence against 
me. I suppose that's the lay, isn't it ? " 

"No, not necessarily. Of course I don't 
know what the police will do, but I'm not 
working for them. I'm a private detective. 
I've been commissioned to find out who killed 
Captain Nevile. I've also had something to 
do with fixing the hour at which Captain 
Nevile was shot." 

" Of course, that's where I've seen your name. 

I knew it was familiar, but I couldn't place it. 

124 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

You were put on by the Jockey Club, weren't 

" Yes." 

" Is that same barrister chap still at it ? " 

" You mean Mr. Tempest, I suppose. Yes, 
he's still interested in it." 

"Well, you can take my word he's a smart 
sort of beggar. Fancy anybody thinking about 
the cofFee dodge. It meant more to me than 
I care to think about." 

" In what way ? " 

"Why, you chucklehead, I shouldn't have 
made my fortune as I did if he couldn't have 
proved the Captain was dead when the race was 
run. It wouldn't have paid me to prove it." 

" But how did you know he was dead ? " 
said the other, in an unconcerned voice. 

" Young man, I thought at first you were a 
bit of a jay at your own game, but it's beginning 
to strike me you know a thing or two. How 
do you know I knew ? Guess it ? " 

" We'll put it that way if you like." 

" You're wrong then, cocky ; guess again." 

"Mr. Sorrel, I'm down here as much in 

your interests as in my own. Personally, I'm 

not concerned in getting anybody into trouble. 

I've simply got to find out who did the murder. 

There's more than the murder hanging on it. 

las 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Now I know your reputation, and I don't think 
you did it, but you know something about it, 
and you knew Captain Nevile was dead when 
you were in the Ring at Epsom." 

" YouVe hit it at once, young man ; I did 
know." 

« What did you know ? " 

" I knew he was dead ; and as Fm a living 
sinner, that's all I did know." 

" How did you get to know ? " 

" That's telling — and I'm not going to put 
the rope round the neck of any man. I want 
to lie easy o' nights now that I am free of my 
other worries. As soon as I got in my 
winnings, I sat down and wrote cheques for 
every blessed bill I owed. I've put my monkey 
into consols, I'm taking Carter's little liver 
pills, and I'm not going to have any worries. 
I have only got one left." 

" And what may that be ? " 

" Well, the biggest cheque I drew was for 
a damned old swine of a money-lender. 
He's had his claws into my throat for a long 
time, and his was the first cheque I sent off. 
The bounder's never answered it or cashed 
it. 

" Shall I tell you why ? If it's Gordon the 
money-lender, he's dead ! " 

126 



The D anger ville Inheritance 

« Dead 1 " Sorrel shouted. « When did he 
die ? " 

"Well, nobody knows. But surely you 
saw the inquest in the papers ? " 

"No, I didn't. I gave up halfpenny 
evenings from the day I left the ring, and that 
was the day of the Oaks. There's too much 
starting price about them. The only paper 
I've seen since is the Sporting TimeSy and I've 
only read the front page of that. I suppose, 
now I'm somebody, I shall have to take in 
the Times, but it's a bit stodgy, and I haven't 
started up to now. I've got to read the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica yet, and that will 
take some doing. What's this inquest you're 
speaking of?" 

" Well, it appears they didn't find his body 
until the Monday after the Oaks, and all they 
could say then was that he'd been dead some 
days. He was found sitting in his chair in his 
office in Jermyn Street. The doctors said he 
had died from heart disease." 

Sorrel sat and thought for some time. 

" Then that explains the milk in the cocoa- 
nut. Lord Almighty, how it's been puzzling 
me I Mr. Yardley, I'll tell you when Gordon 
died. He died at exactly five minutes after 

eleven on the day of the Oaks : that was the 

127 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Friday. Look here, it's a long story. There's 
been a lot of tales going about, and many 
people thought that Gordon was a partner of 
mine and had an interest in my business. He 
certainly had, but it was a rummy kind of 
interest. The only interest was what I owed 
him. I owed him money, and for the last 
twelve months It's been suck, suck, suck. He 
took most of my profits, and I've had a hard 
row to hoe to keep from going under, and 
things got worse instead of better, and had been 
getting steadily worse for some time. You 
see, a bookmaker's business isn't the sort a 
bank will advance money on, and you can't 
run it without money ; that's if you're trying 
to run straight. I suppose you're not a news- 
paper man, are you ? " 

Yardley reassured him on the point, and 
Sorrel continued. 

" Well, I had an awful day on Derby Day. 
I wasn't playing the fool ; I was just laying the 
same odds as all the others. All of us in the 
ring were hit a bit, but I got fair landed, and 
instead of going to Epsom on the Thursday, 
I went to see Gordon. We had an awful row 
— kind of a wayzgoose it would have been to 
an audience — lots of men can make themselves 
nasty, but Gordon was always so damned 

128 



The Dangerville Inheriiance 

insulting with his nastiness. Anyhow, he 
showed me very plain he had about finished 
with me. I told him I couldn't go on without 
some more money. I wanted ;^2ooo. He'd 
only lend me half that, though I had to sign 
bills for double the amount I got. It wasn't 
enough, but that was all he would let me have, 
and he told me to call the next day for the 
cash. Well, I'd laid a good deal of money 
against Finality. It's a soft game laying big 
prices against horses, just because you've never 
heard their names, and a year before they run — 
but I'd been doing it. Why, I stood to pay 
Captain Nevile alone £,iSyOOOy and I'd got 
another big bet with his trainer, and I'd got 
precious little laid against any of the others, so 
what good was a beggarly couple of monkeys 
to me ? It seemed certain that I must bust 
hopeless if Finality won. I couldn't see how 
I could possibly pull round, and so it all 
hung for me on the bare chance that she 
wouldn't win. You know these perishing 
certainties don't always come off. Well, if I 
was going bust — ^bust it should be with a venge- 
ance, but, if the mare didn't win, then I meant 
to make my fortune, so that evening at the 
Victoria Club, I started laying against her for 

all I knew. The other chaps all thought 

129 I 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Gordon was a partner of mine, so they didn't 
trouble at first, but, after a bit, I suppose I got 
liquored-up, and was betting pretty wild, and 
then they stopped, and one of the others who 
lives near here saw me home. They believed 
there were limits even to what Gordon could 
pay. The next morning I went up to Gordon's 
office in Jermyn Street to get the money, mean- 
ing to go on straight from Victoria to Epsom 
after. Gordon was just going into his office, 
and I caught him upon the stairs. He was 
puffing a lot, and he looked very white 
about the gills, and he seemed a bit damaged, 
as if he had been scrapping. I told him he 
didn't look up to much. He gave me the 
money, and then told me that Captain Nevile 
was dead. I asked him how he knew, but 
he wouldn't say, and 1 came away. Now, I 
knew Gordon had put £,sooo on Finality ; he'd 
been pumping me about/ the mare's chances, 
and told me so, and I knew the first thing he 
would do after I left his office, would be to 
telephone all round, and try to turn his know- 
ledge into money somehow. As Nevile was 
dead, I'd got rid of my liabilities, and 
I went on down to Epsom more to see the 
race and chortle over the others who had 
stopped me out of kindness the night before. 

130 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

When I "went into the ring and heard *em 
still betting odds on about Finality, I couldn't 
believe my ears, and I didn't understand then ; 
and up to this moment I've wondered what 
Gordon did and how he did it without some- 
body smelling a rat and it getting to the 
ring. But there they all were, like so many 
turtle-doves, and not a soul knew a thing. 
So I started. I knew it didn't matter what 
I did about Finality, and I was just having 
a lark. And, now, Mr. Yardley, you know 
as much as I do. The first news didn't 
arrive at Epsom till five o'clock, so Gordon 
couldn't have done anything. What he didn't 
know wasn't worth knowing, and, consequently, 
you can bet he was prevented ; and that's 
why I say that Gordon died at five minutes 
past eleven, for that was the time I left his 
oflSce ; and in five minutes at the telephone, 
if he'd had that long there, he'd have started 
the mischief. But, dirty beast as he was, 
I shouldn't have told you this if he had been 
still alive ; but I suppose they can't hang 
a dead man, so he's safe. And, Jove, I'm 
none so sure that I am, after what you've been 
saying." 

"Then you think Gordon killed Captain 
Nevile ? " 

131 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Young man, I said Fd retired from 
business, and I've given up thinking." 

« But " 

"Well, even if I hadn't, I wasn't in the 
trade that hunts murderers. No offence, of 
course, but I'd rather chase cherubs as a sky- 
pilot for my living. Have another drink ? " 

" But how did you make your fortune, then, 
Mr. Sorrel ? " 

The bookmaker looked at him with a curious 
smile. 

"Well, I'll tell you. I've been backing 
Gay Girl every sixpence I could get on her 
all the winter. I knew a thing or two about 
her, and, until Finality's form was disclosed, 
I thought she was good enough to win." 

Yardley left the little river-side bungalow 
deep in thought, and as he walked back to the 
railway station, he felt convinced that Dick 
Sorrel was sure in his own mind that the Jew 
had killed Nevile. Everything, too, seemed to 
point in that direction — the violent quarrel 
between the two men — the damaged appear- 
ance of Gordon, and the fact that he knew of 
the death hours before even those in the house 
where it had taken place. 

But events, in the mean time, had not stood 
still in other directions, and as the train ran 

13a 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

into Paddington, Yardley caught sight of the 
placards of the evening papers. All of them 
announced the arrest of Captain Nevile's wife ; 
and Yardley caught himself wondering eagerly 
why and on what grounds the police had taken 
that step. Buying a Sutty he marked the para- 
graph and posted it to Sorrel. The next 
evening he received a note in reply, which 
asked him to make all arrangements necessary 
to ensure that Mrs. Nevile was defended by 
Ashley Tempest. 

"I will pay all expenses," the note con- 
cluded ; " and tell Mrs. Nevile that I will pay 
her ;C300 a year during her lifetime. I made a 
lot of money out of her husband whilst he was 
alive, and I've made a fortune by his death. It's 
the least I can do." 

So once again Dennis Yardley and Ashley 
Tempest were together for the defence. 



133 



Chapter X 



DURING the next few days Tempest 
I had his first interview with Mrs. 
Nevile, and at the end of it he con- 
fessed himself absolutely puzzled. 
Whilst professing herself innocent, and vehe- 
mently asserting her entire ignorance of almost 
everything he asked her, he could see plainly, 
nevertheless, that there was something she knew 
and was keeping back. According to her own 
story she had had a quarrel about money matters 
with her husband, and had left him in the sitting- 
room whilst she gathered together in the ad- 
joining apartment one or two little things she 
intended to take away with her. She admitted 
her intention was to leave him for good, and 
that she had told him this, and said that before 
she went she heard Mr. Gordon, the money- 
lender, come into the room, and she had heard 
the commencement of a violent quarrel con- 
cerning money between her husband and Gordon. 
By her own account, she had left the house 
whilst the quarrel was going on, and had not 
returned there, and had no knowledge whatever 
of her husband's death until she saw it in the 
papers. She stated that she walked up to Town, 

134 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and sat in the Park for some time thinking over 
her future action, and consequently, as she met 
nobody she knew, she could produce no evidence 
in the nature of an alibi until 5,30 in the evening, 
when she went to the house of a former acquaint- 
ance of hers. In answer to Tempest's question, 
she admitted that nobody at their lodgings was 
aware of the time at which she left, and that she 
herself was not certain of it. She felt, however, 
quite sure that it was before ten o'clock. She 
also admitted that money had not been the only 
point of discussion between her husband and 
herself; and on being pressed, owned that she 
had discovered a letter from Lady Dangerville 
to Captain Nevile, Tempest asked her the 
contents of the letter, and on being told, at once 
recognized it as the note which Yardley had 
found. He asked Mrs, Nevile what she 
thought was the meaning of the note, and was 
horror-struck to find that she had no hesitation 
in making the positive assertion that Captain 
Nevile was the father of Lady Dangerville's 
child. Mrs, Nevile, by her own account, had 
no doubt whatever on the point, and spoke 
with so much certainty that Tempest began to 
think there might be something in the story. 
But granting that it were true, he could not see 
how it elucidated the mystery of the murder. 

13s 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

In fact, It only created a very powerful motive 
to throw suspicion, almost amounting to cer- 
tainty, upon Mrs. Nevile herself. Tempest 
came away from the interview as perplexed as 
he had ever been in his life, and the suggestions 
made by the solicitor who had accompanied 
him, only irritated him by their utter futility. 
But think it over as he would, he could not get 
away from the fact that the authorship of the 
letter brought the Dangervilles into conjunction 
with the murder. The connection was so slight 
that it could hardly be so termed with any 
justice, and in the ordinary event might have 
been entirely discarded, had it not been that 
Yardley had been so positive that the black- 
mailing letters addressed to Lord Dangerville 
were in some way mixed up with the racing 
tragedy. The clue seemed too slight to work 
upon, in face of the obvious suspicions which 
had accumulated, and seemed to indicate that 
Gordon had committed the crime, and that 
Mrs. Nevile had done the same. But then 
Mrs. Nevile asserted her innocence ; there 
seemed nothing to in any way connect her with 
the Jew, and if the Jew had been the murderer, 
he was dead, and the matter would consequently 
for ever remain a mystery, for of definite evidence 

there seemed none. Mrs. Nevile could not 

136 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

help him, and yet on the supposition that she 
was innocent Tempest racked his brains in vain 
to find some way in which he could prove the 
point. The only satisfaction, on the other 
hand, was that the arrest had been made on 
suspicion, and that Tempest could not see what 
positive evidence the Crown could have upon 
which they might expect a conviction. 

The next piece of evidence came into the 
hands of Yardley and Tempest by accident, but 
it was none the less important. The police, 
acting on Mrs. Nevile's statement as to the 
relations of Gordon and her husband, and on 
the evidence of the altercation which had been 
given at the inquest, had made a thorough 
search for papers or other evidence which might 
throw a light on the mystery. Papers relating 
to Captain Nevile and his debts they found in 
plenty in the Jew*s office, but nothing amongst 
them that could be found bearing a direct con- 
nection with the crime, but in the tail coat- 
pocket had been found a loaded revolver, one 
chamber only having been used. Yardley had 
seen the account of the find in one of the 
papers, and with that basis to work upon it 
needed the exercise of but little of Tempest's 
skill to obtain the release of Mrs. Nevile. 
After one or two adjournments, the magistrate 

137 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

dismissed the charge with the remark that no 
jury would be likely to convict. 

As the two men left the Court together 
Yardley gave vent to a queer little chuckle* 

"That's all very pretty. Tempest," he 
remarked, "and of course you were briefed 
to get the woman off; but if she didn't 
commit the murder, who did ? " 

" Isn't the deduction pretty obvious ? The 
magistrate seemed to think so." 

"Do you really put it down to the Jew, then ?" 

Tempest stopped short on the pavement, and 
turned and faced his companion with a queer 
quizzical look on his face* 

" I didn't say so." 

" That's quibbling. You said as much." 

" Well, then, I don't think it. Yardley, my 
brains are going addled over this case. I've 
been thinking things out, and I am fairly 
certain Gordon did not kill him. Gordon 
stood to net nearly ;^40,ooo by Finality 
winning the Oaks, and no money-grubber as 
he was would deliberately throw that much 
away. But, look here, who's paying you or 
me to bother any more about this murder ? 
I'm going to drop it." 

"There's such a thing as pride in one's 
profession, Tempest." 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

^* I admit it, but it doesn't happen to be 
my profession — I'm not a detective. I'm 
a barrister, and I've done with the murder, 
unless you put up some other poor wretch 
as the culprit, and the brief comes to me. 
The public and the press accept Gordon as 
the murderer. It doesn't hurt him, so let's 
leave it at that ; but all the same I don't think 
he was guilty." 

But if the case of the murder of Captain 
Nevile could be thus dismissed, Yardley's other 
work could not be put out of hand equally 
summarily, and the matter of the letters still 
remained to be solved. And Tempest likewise 
found himself drawn back into the tangle ; 
for a few days later Dick Sorrel was arrested 
for the murder of Isaac Gordon, and as an 
accessory in relation to the murder of Captain 
Nevile. 

There is little necessity to trace the pre- 
liminary stages of the police-court proceedings 
beyond the mere pointing out that there was 
no attempt to deny that Sorrel did know of 
the death of Captain Nevile, that he had seen, 
as he admitted, Isaac Gordon on the morning 
of the Oaks, that the body of Isaac Gordon 
was badly damaged, and that Sorrel was the 
last person known to have seen him. The 

139 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

popular theory, which was accepted as a matter 
of common knowledge, was that Gordon and 
Sorrel were in partnership, and the well-known 
fact that Sorrel was betting wildly against 
Finality the day before the Oaks, was held by 
everybody to point infallibly, in conjunction 
with the evidence at the inquest, to the ex- 
planation that Gordon and Sorrel had planned 
the death of Captain Nevile, that Gordon had 
murdered him, and that Sorrel was responsible 
for the death of Gordon. But at the last 
moment the medical evidence which Tempest 
provided re-established conclusively that Gordon 
had died from heart disease. This, of course, 
relieved Sorrel from the accusation of murder, 
but only left things tangled up still more 
inextricably, and Sorrel was committed to take 
his trial as an accessory to the murder of 
Captain Nevile. 



140 



Chapter XI 



AND so things stood. But mean- 
while Yardley had been busy in 
connection with the anonymous 
letters to Lord Dangerville, and 
it is necessary to hark back a little. 

The Earl of Dangerville, under Yardley's 
advice, had sent ;^ 1500 in notes addressed to 
Mr. Arthur Montmorency at the Charing Cross 
Post Office. Yardley spent the following 
day lounging about the office. In the after- 
noon a District Messenger arrived and asked 
for letters for Mr. Arthur Montmorency. On 
receiving the letter addressed in that name he 
placed it unopened in a registered envelope, 
which he addressed to Mrs. Delany, at the 
Hdtel Mor^t, Paris. Having attended to 
the despatching of this, the boy left the office. 
Yardley had obtained proper credentials, and 
the address was given him. By that night's 
boat he crossed to France, and went straight to 
the hotel mentioned. 

A lady known as Mrs. Delany was un- 
doubtedly then staying in the hotel, and 
Yardley, who had preceded the mail, arranged 

his movements so that he saw the lady claim 

141 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and receive a registered letter. Yardley was 
a clever detective, but, unless vast issues were 
at stake, he drew the line at overhauling a 
woman's bedroom on mere suspicion. That 
he left for men on a lower rung of the ladder. 
Unfortunately Mrs. Delany had no maid, and 
the usual avenue so often employed by others 
in his calling was therefore closed to him. But 
he studied the Visitors' Book and careftiUy 
examined the signature of Mrs. Delany. It 
was little enough to go upon, but he noticed 
that the lady made a capital " D " in a fashion 
peculiarly her own. There could be no mis- 
taking that letter, for Yardley had never come 
across a similar one, and in that one little 
letter lay his salvation. He was standing in the 
office endeavouring to cultivate an acquaintance 
with one of the clerks, when a waiter entered 
with a letter on his tray, and asked for some 
stamps. Yardley's keen eyes quickly noticed 
that it was addressed to the Countess of 
Dangerville, and that the capital " D " had again 
been written in the same curious fashion. 

Carelessly he asked the clerk — 

" Do you happen to know if Mrs, Delany is 
in the hotel now ? " 

The waiter, looking up from affixing the 
stamps to the letter, answered — 

142 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



*' She's in her room now, sir." 

That was all Yardley wanted to know, as 
there could be little doubt the waiter must have 
that moment brought the letter down from her 
room. 

But what on earth could Lady Dangerville 
have to do with Mrs. Delany, and how was he 
to know that the letter he saw before his eyes 
related in any way to the matter he was con- 
cerned in ? He saw the waiter slip the letter 
into the hotel letter-box for collection, and 
knew that, having missed the evening post, it 
would remain in the letter-box until the follow- 
ing morning. But the watchful night-porter 
would, he felt sure, prevent any tampering with 
the letter-box, and he sat down on one of the 
lounges for a quiet smoke, in order that he 
could think out his next move. An inspira- 
tion soon came, and, leaving the hotel, he sent 
a cipher telegram to the Earl of Dangerville, 
requesting that a wire might be sent back to 
him at once, saying, "Letters to Adelphi 
Terrace, Dangerville." In the course of the 
evening the telegram he had asked for arrived. 
Going to the manager's room, Yardley ex- 
plained that he was a private detective then 
in Paris on behalf of his client, the Countess 
of Dangerville, to whom an hour or two 

143 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

previously he had written a most urgent and 
important letter, the absolute importance of 
which could not be exaggerated. Since he had 
posted it he had received the telegram he pro- 
duced from his client. He believed the letter 
was still in the hotel box, and would the 
manager permit him to have the box opened 
and the address altered in accordance with the 
telegram. 

" Why can't you write a duplicate letter ? 
That is the obvious course," said the 
manager. 

" Because there are enclosures — original 
papers which are of greater importance and 
urgency than the letter." 

The manager hesitated even on receiving 
Yardley's assurance that he did not want to 
open the letter or withdraw it. He merely 
wished to alter the address in accordance with 
the telegram he had received. 

At length Yardley said, in answer to pro- 
tests — 

" If you will give me a large envelope, I will 
address that to the proper address. You will 
be able to see from the handwriting that I must 
have addressed the previous letter, and then, if 
you are satisfied on that point, will you look 
through the letter-box yourself, find the letter 

144 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

to Lady Dangerville, and put it into the new 
envelope ? Then I shan't have to touch it, so 
you will be safe." 

Presently the manager consented, and did as 
Yardley had suggested, the latter blessing his 
luck that he had had the chance previously to 
notice the curious "D" in the handwriting. 
This he was able to reproduce exactly, with 
a very plausible imitation of the general effect 
of the writing on the other envelope. The 
address in Adelphi Terrace was, of course, that 
of his own office. 

Returning to London he found the letter 
awaiting him. Opening it, he found inside 
the letter addressed to the Countess and the 
unopened registered letter addressed to Mrs. 
Delany. Steaming that open, he found the 
letter addressed to Mr. Arthur Montmorency, 
at Charing Cross Post Office, and within that 
the banknotes for ;^ 1500, which the Earl had 
posted. Taking a note of the numbers he 
resealed the first, second, and third envelopes. 
Then he got out a small case he had often 
found extremely useful, and setting up the 
postmarks he found on the outer cover, 
imitated as closely as possible — there were 
variations, certainly, but he knew few people 
ever examined a postmark very minutely — he 

145 K 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

went out and dropped the letter into a pillar- 
box. 

To say he was astounded by his discovery, 
even after the suspicions he had felt, is to put 
the matter mildly. Had -it been suggested to 
him beforehand, he would have absolutely 
scouted the idea of the Countess blackmailing 
her own husband, and he was at his wit's end 
what conclusion to draw from the facts which 
had come into his hands. And then he 
remembered what Tempest had told him a few 
days previously at the inquest on Captain 
Nevile, viz. that there had been talk almost 
amounting to a scandal concerning the relations 
of Captain Nevile and Lady Dangerville. And 
then there was the letter they had found, and 
of which Mrs. Nevile had given them an 
explanation. Putting one thing with another, 
the story slowly pieced itself together in his 
mind. Evidently Nevile must have had such 
relations with the Countess that he was in a 
position to blackmail her, and had done so, and 
she, unable to raise the money except from her 
husband, and no doubt quite unwilling that 
he should even guess at her relations with the 
soldier, had simply blackmailed the money out 
of her husband, in order to comply with 
Captain Nevile's extortionate demands. Now 

146 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

should he, or should he not, reveal to Lord 
Dangerville what he had discovered ? The 
Earl had impressed upon him that his in- 
structions were not to obtain a conviction, but 
to find out who was at work in the matter. He 
wondered if the Earl had any suspicion as to 
the real culprit. If so, then his discoveries 
would be expected ; but on the contrary sup- 
position, he knew he would not be believed 
for one moment. 

In sheer perplexity, he went round to 
Tempest's chambers to ask his advice as man 
to man. The barrister listened with growing 
interest to the recital. 

** Your hypothesis certainly fits the note we 
found," he said, **and it explains what has 
hitherto puzzled me — how Nevile got the 
money to pay his trainer, and hang on until 
the day of the Oaks. But there's an amazing 
lot that still wants explanation. Now I'll tell 
you a bit of news that was brought to me 
to-day. I had a call from a man named Evans 
this morning. He tells me he was a groom in 
the service of the Dangervilles, and acted as 
second coachman. The real coachman and the 
usual pair of carriage horses had been out till 
nearly four o'clock one morning, taking Lady 
Dangerville from one place to another, and 

147 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

finally ending at a dance. At nine o'clock in 
the morning a message came round to the 
stables that the small brougham was wanted, 
and, as the coachman and pair had been out so 
late, Evans had better come, and bring one of 
the other horses. Lady Dangerville often used 
the small brougham for shopping, and on such 
occasions frequently dispensed with a footman. 
Evans was kept waiting for some little time, but 
finally the Countess came out, and was driven 
to the far end of West Cromwell Road. There 
Evans was told to wait* Lady Dangerville 
walked from there, and Evans saw her turn 
into Warwick Gardens. He waited more than 
half an hour before she returned, and when 
she did she was crying, and evidently much 
upset. Evans says that was the day of the 
Oaks, and he is certain Lady Dangerville called 
at Captain Nevile's. He came here thinking 
his information was worth a vast sum of money 
to me, and plainly didn't believe me when I 
told him I didn't value it to the extent of a red 
cent. I gave him half a crown for his trouble 
in coming, but that was all, though in the face 
of what you tell me it may certainly have some 
value. I wonder if she really is mixed up with 
the murder ; though, of course, Evans was 
simply drawing his own conclusions — putting 

148 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

two and two together to make four, as he 
remarked — from the old scandal. Evans 
evidently didn't know as much as we do, 
though he said he had often previously driven 
Lady Dangerville to the different addresses 
NevUe had." 

" Well, old man, what do you advise ? " 
at length Yardley said. 

" I really hardly know ; it's all a most 
amazing mix up. I can't say I see daylight 
yet. But just remember, this is the second 
time Lord Dangerville has been blackmailed. 
Get particulars — you easily can — of the first lot 
of notes Lord Dangerville sent, and try to 
trace them, and see if there is any connection of 
any kind whatever between Lady Dangerville 
and Nevile, or Gordon or Sorrel." 

Yardley was busy for the next few days 
tracing the notes with which Lord Dangerville 
had made the first payment But at the end of 
that time the detective was not only still more 
puzzled than he had been previously, but was 
fast reaching a state of desperation. 

The bulk of the money had been readily 

traced to a firm of pawnbrokers, it having 

come to them on the redeeming of a diamond 

bracelet. 

"The bracelet is well known to be the 

149 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

property of Lady Dangerville — it was pawned 
and redeemed by her maid," the pawnbroker 
had told Yardley. 

" How do you know ? " he had asked. And 
then he learnt that there was a mutual pro- 
tection society amongst pawnbrokers, used 
frequently for the dissemination of information. 
One pawnbroker, doubting that it was legally 
in the maid's possession on a former occasion, 
when Lady Dangerville had needed to raise 
money, had detained it and the maid whilst he 
sent for the police, and had only refrained from 
giving the maid into custody on her urgent 
request to communicate with her mistress first, 
when the Countess had immediately arrived in 
a cab. The little incident had gone the round, 
and on the second occasion no question what- 
ever had been raised. So that it was evident 
that the first letter, as well as the second, had 
been posted straight back to Lady Dangerville. 
The notes in the second letter had redeemed 
a diamond tiara deposited with the same firm. 

Yardley obtained the numbers of the notes 

handed over by the pawnbrokers when the 

bracelet was pledged, and also when the tiara 

was pledged, and spent some time in tracing 

the hands through which these passed. As he 

had surmised, in each case they must have been 

150 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

sent at once to Captain Nevile, for Yardley 
had little difficulty in tracing the bulk of them 
to Nevile's trainer. Some had passed through 
the hands of Sorrel, who admitted having had 
one or two bets with Captain Nevile ; some 
had passed through the hands of Gordon, 
though Tempest, who knew of the exact posi- 
tion of affairs between Nevile and the Jew, 
was puzzled to account for Gordon's possession 
of the notes. Eventually Yardley discovered 
that Gordon had received them from Sorrel. 

But the discoveries which Yardley had made 
seemed to carry them but very little further. 
As Tempest put it when he and Yardley talked 
over the matter, they knew very little. 

" Let's recapitulate," Tempest had said, " and 
see where we are. Nevile, who stands to 
become a wealthy man if he lives till the after- 
noon, quarrels violently, first with his wife, who 
thereupon, by her own account, leaves him ; 
then he quarrels with the Jew, and, seemingly, 
has a scuffle with him. The Jew knows of his 
death, and tells Sorrel of it before eleven o'clock. 
Sorrel's bets the previous day certainly look 
as if he knew Nevile was going to die. Gordon 
has Nevile's pistol in his pocket, and dies from 
heart disease. Nevile is successfully black- 
mailing Lady Dangerville, and she went to his 

151 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

rooms the day of his death. But Sorrel seems 
to have got his information from the Jew, and 
if Dick was concerned in Nevile's death he was 
an accomplice with the Jew. But the Jew lost 
;^40,ooo by Nevile's death. It's just arguing 
round and round in a circle, each bit of 
evidence checkmating conclusions from some 
other bit. Yardley, you will have to interview 
Lady Dangerville, and see what you can get 
out of her." 

The detective took the earliest opportunity of 
calling oh the Countess. He had very con- 
siderable difficulty in arranging an interview, 
as he had no desire that her husband should be 
aware of it. He was surprised to find her 
always out, for he had no idea that Lady 
Dangerville knew either his name or business. 
The Earl, however, had dropped one or two 
idle remarks to her which had put her on her 
guard, and Yardley but reaped the consequence 
of the very express instructions she had given 
her servants. But his perseverance was at 
length rewarded, for, calling one afternoon, in 
the absence of the usual servants, he was 
admitted and shown to the drawing-room. 

Lady Dangerville rose in astonishment as he 
was ushered into the room. 

" May I know to what I am indebted for 

152 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

this . pleasure ? " she asked, in a voice which 
betrayed the sarcasm of her inquiry. 

" I am a private detective, Lady Dangerville/* 

« Oh, reaUy ? " 

" I am commissioned to make certain inquiries 
into matters connected with the death of Captain 
Nevile." 

** I am afraid I cannot claim much interest in 
your business affairs." 

** I've come to ask you what you can tell me 
about Captain Nevile's death." 

"That is quickly answered. I know abso- 
lutely nothing ; " and Lady Dangerville crossed 
the room to ring the bell. 

"One moment, please. Lady Dangerville. 
I believe you paid large sums of money to 
Captain Nevile ? " 

The woman's eyes blazed, but she had 
admirable control over herself, and she quickly 
saw that Yardley would not have made such an 
assertion unless he had known it to be true, 
and she merely replied — 

" But I know nothing of his death." 

" Your maid pawned a diamond bracelet and 
a diamond tiara to raise the money you sent to 
Captain Nevile." 

She drew herself to her full height and she 
stared him straight in the face. A weaker man 

153 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

would have wavered under the scorn of her 
glance, but Yardley continued, as she made no 
attempt to answer — 

" And you blackmailed Lord Dangerville to 
obtain the money to redeem your diamonds." 

Her face grew a ghasdy greeny-grey, and 
there were tight lines round her mouth and 
nostrils as she restrained her furious anger. 
But she made no reply. 

The man paused for some time, awaiting her 
pleasure to answer, but she remained silent, 
and, watching her closely through his half- 
closed eyes, he quietly added in a low even 
voice — 

" The morning Captain Nevile was murdered, 
you called at his lodgings in Warwick Gardens." 

She gasped and choked, and Yardley could 
see her breast rise and fall in rapid succession, 
but he could not help admiring her marvellous 
pluck and self-control as she listened unspeaking 
to his accusation. The silence became un- 
bearable. At last she said in inquiry — 

"Well?" 

"I want to know. Lady Dangerville, why 
you sent Captain Nevile money ? " 

She thought for a moment, and, seating 
herself, answered composedly — 

« He was a relative of mine." 

154 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

The man sighed in desperation, and played 
his last card. 

"Pardon me," he said. "You wrote an 
unsigned letter to Captain Nevile, and I 
have that letter. Now, Lady Dangerville, 
what do you know of the death of Captain 
Nevile ? " 

"I decline to tell you what I know. But 
this I will tell you : You were employed by 
my husband to find out who was obtaining 
money from him. You believe you have dis- 
covered that I wrote those letters to him, and, 
having obtained the money, sent it to Captain 
Nevile. And then, for that reason, and because 
you are told some wonderful story about 
my being at his rooms, you jump to the con- 
clusion that I know about his death, and you 
come here to try to bully me into telling you 
what you don't know, and can't find out. You 
wouldn't come to me, if you could find out 
any more. Now, listen to me. I will tell you 
nothing beyond this — that if you like to make 
mischief between my husband and myself by 
repeating this wonderful story to him, I can't 
prevent you. What you have said is true — 
oh yes, I admit it — but there is a very simple 
explanation — and a perfectly innocent one — of 
everything ; and if I have to speak to my 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

husband, to justify myself, the case will be 
taken out of your hands." 

" If there is such a simple explanation, Lady 
Dangerville, I think you would be wise to 
tell me." 

" There is a very potent reason why I should 
not." 

"Have you realized the grave danger of 
keeping silent ? " 

" Danger I To whom ? " 

" To yourself." 

"Of what?" 

" Of being accused of the murder." 

She laughed — a ringing peal ; and then from 
time to time broke into little, half-restrained 
chuckles that seemed to begin and end in her 
throat. 

" Why should I murder him ? " she asked 
at length. 

"Well, there is the pretty obvious motive 
of putting a stop to his demands for money." 

" My husband tells me you are supposed to 
be the cleverest detective in Europe. It seems 
to me there must be a vast deal of supposition 
in such an assertion, or else your profession 
badly needs some new recruits. Captain 
Nevile," she continued, " if he had lived until 
the afternoon, would, I hear, have won nearly 

X56 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

;^ 1 00,000 ; and I have no doubt whatever — for 
I knew the man, and you did not — that he 
would have repaid me the money I had advanced 
him within a few hours of being in a position 
to do so, and, moreover, he would have been 
in such a financial position that it is not very 
likely he would have needed to trouble me for 
money again. And yet you make the deliberate 
suggestion that I murdered him, or was privy 
to his murder — a murder which of itself pre- 
vented his winning, and prevented his repaying 

me. I think, Mr. " — and she paused, 

and picked up his card — "Mr. Yardley, that 
you had better join another profession ; " and 
she rang the bell, and Yardley found himself 
pointedly dismissed, and that with scant 
ceremony. 

He had learnt nothing, save the facts that 
Lady Dangerville was not afraid of him ; that 
she did know something about the murder, but 
something which she meant to keep to herself; 
and that she was plainly under no anxiety on 
her own account. 



TS7 



Chapter XII 



AS Yardley slowly made his way back 
to his office, a resounding slap on 
his back made him turn quickly. 
" How goes my worthy friend ? '* 

It was Inspector Parkyns of Scotland Yard. 
The two, who were on very good terms, had 
plenty to discuss, for the one working officially, 
and the other retained by interested parties, had 
often in the past been engaged upon the same 
cases, and had pursued their investigations in 
conjunction. 

"Are you working on the Nevile case, 
Yardley ? " at length Parkyns asked. 

The other hesitated. 

" Do you mean the murder ? I was retained 
in the Jockey Club investigation." 

" Yes, I knew ; that was why I asked. Are 
you still on it, or have you done ? " 

"To be perfectly frank with you, Parkyns, 
I am not retained in the matter of the murder 
at all — never have been. But there is another 
affiiir that is in my hands just now, that Nevile 
was mixed up with. No, it hasn't got to the 
knowledge of your people — and isn't likely 
to, either — but I am pretty certain in my own 

IS8 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

mind that if I could get to the bottom of the 
murder I should have got to the solution of 
this difficulty, and vice versd ; so, as a matter 
of fact, I actually am working on the murder. 
Have your people found out anything about 
it ? " 

^^Well, we arrested Mrs. Nevile, but your 
friend, Mr. Tempest, got her ofl^ and cleverly, 
because even now I think the evidence, as far 
as it has turned up as yet, points to her ; and 
then we arrested Dick Sorrel, and he's still 
under remand. I've thought sometimes whether 
the death of Isaac Gordon, the money-lender, 
had anything to do with it. He was Sorrel's 
partner, they say, but I can't put my hands on 
anything really definite. I dare say you know 
more than we do." 

" Yes, I think I do, but the mischief of the 
whole business is that, though I've found out a 
regular heap of things all mixed and tangled up 
with Nevile's death, nothing seems to point in 
the slightest to a solution. I'm certain Gordon 
knew all about the death. I think Sorrel 
knows something, and there are others who 
could help us if they could be made to speak." 

Parkyns looked at him with a curious smile, 
and said — 

" Oh, you mean Lady Dangerville ? " 

159 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Yardley was surprised, and said so, though his 
surprise was really at the information being in 
the hands of Scotland Yard. Parkyns added — 

*'One of their grooms whom they sacked 
came round and told us her ladyship called at 
Nevile's lodgings the day of the Oaks, but I 
don't think there's anything in it. When we 
pressed him, all he really knew as a fact was 
that she went to Warwick Gardens. He didn't 
see which house she went to. I asked her 
myself, and she at once told me she called to 
see an old governess of hers who was ill. She 
told me the number — 66^ I think. I made 
inquiries, and the person she spoke of had been 
ill there — in fact, had died that day. They told 
me several ladies called, but they did not ask 
the nam^ Nevile lived at 68, next door. A 
good many of the houses in that neighbourhood 
let lodgings. But there's one curious little 
thing which perhaps would be a clue if we 
could get to the bottom of it. But we can't. 
One of the constables we put on duty there 
found in the garden half a broken sleeve-link. 
The people in the house say it was not Nevile's, 
his wife says the same, and none of the other 
lodgers will own it. It's gold, with a crest 
enamelled on it. It's rather a curious crest — 
half a man, half a horse." 

1 60 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

•" Can't you find out who it belongs to ? " 
" WeVe been trying. I went straight with 
it to the Heralds' College. Here, come back 
to the Yard with me, and I'll show you the 
link and the letter the College wrote about 
it." 

Yardley strolled back with the inspector, 
who produced the link, and then passed a 
letter to him. It was as follows : — 

«* College of Arms, E.G. 

" Sir, 

" I have made a prolonged search for 
the crest — * a demi-centaur gules ' — enamelled 
upon the broken sleeve-link which you showed 
to me yesterday, and find it was confirmed in 
1623 at the Visitation of Shropshire to William 
Le Maizey of Stoke-upon-Terne in that county. 
No pedigree of any of his descendants has since 
been registered here, so that I am quite unable 
to say whether any one is now entitled to 
use it. 

" Yours faithfully, 

" Herald.*' 

** Not much good for purposes of identifica- 
tion, is it ? " said Parkyns. " It isn't often we 

z6z L 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

get anything out of them that helps. Their 
stuff is too antiquarian for us.*' 

Yardley laughed. 

*^ I don't often trouble them myself. Ever 
heard of Westerley ? " 

« No. Who's he ? " 

" Oh, he's always writing on heraldry. Edits 
books about it, and that kind of thing, and he 
can generally tell you who it is that's using a 
particular crest or coat-of-arms, particularly if 
they haven't got a right to it. Let's go and 
see him." 

The two at once proceeded to the office at 
which Yardley knew the required individual 
would be found. Showing him the broken 
cuff-link, Yardley asked if he could say to 
whom the crest belonged. 

"Not off-hand," was the answer. "You'll 
have to ask at the College, but I can tell you 
who uses it. Of course there may be others, 
but I only know of its being used by a parson 
down in Warwickshire named Meysey. I've 
only seen it that once. It's such a curious 
crest, I am sure I should remember it if I had 
come across it elsewhere." 

They left the office, and Parkyns remarked 

that they didn't seem very much nearer the 

mark. A Warwickshire parson didn't sound 

162 



The Dangerville ^Inheritance 

a likely individual to commit a murder in 
London. 

" Quite so/* said Yardley ; " but the man 
probably has relatives." 

" Right," said Parkyns. " Fll send some- 
body down to try to pump the old boy." 

Yardley, on the other hand, borrowed the 
sleeve-link and had a careful photograph made. 
This he sent to every firm in England — and 
they are not very numerous — which under- 
takes work of this character, with the inquiry 
if they had made the sleeve-links. Eventually 
a Birmingham firm admitted having done so, 
and mentioned the shop in Bond Street from 
which they had received the order. Upon 
inquiry Yardley was astounded to learn that 
the sleeve-links had been made to the order of 
Lady Veronica Douglas, who was now the 
Countess of Dangerville. 

Bewildered, puzzled, and at his wits* end, 

he walked into Hyde Park, and sat down to 

try to think out what his latest discovery 

might mean. A moment's reference to a 

Peerage had shown him that the demi- 

centaur was neither the crest of the Earl of 

Dangerville nor the Duke of Aberfeldy, so 

the Countess must have had the links made 

as a present for somebody. Had they been 

163 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

made for Captain Nevile ? No ; the pied 
bull's head of Nevile was the crest on the 
Captain's belongings. 

Yardley had not been seated long before he 
saw the Dangerville landau draw up and come 
to a standstill at the railings just in front of 
him. In the carriage sat Lady Dangerville 
alone. Taking one of the photographs from 
his pocket-book, Yardley walked straight across 
to the carriage. 

^'Lady Dangerville," he said, "for whom 
did you have these cufF-links made ? " 

She stared, first at him and then at the 
photograph. 

" Home, please," she said to her footman. 

But Yardley drew his bow at a venture. 

" Would you please give me Mr. Meysey's 
address ? " 

With a quick gasp Lady Dangerville sank 
back against the cushions as the carriage moved 
off, and Yardley knew his shot had reached 
the mark. 

Now, who was Mr. Meysey ? 

Parkyns came back from Warwickshire 
with the news that the clergyman had two sons 
and no other relatives of his name. The 
elder son was a bank clerk in Birmingham, the 

164 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

younger was an officer on a Union-Casde liner. 
The Bank attendance book, to which Parkyns 
obtained access, proved conclusively that the 
elder son could not possibly have been in 
London on the day of the Oaks. As to the 
younger son, he deemed it desirable to avoid 
exciting suspicion by local inquiries, as he 
knew he could obtain reliable information in 
London. Immediately on his return to town 
he found that Mr. Meysey was in England 
on the day in question, and had called at the 
Union-Castle office on business the previous 
day. He was now absent from England, and 
not due back for nearly a month. Parkyns 
passed his discoveries on to Yardley, and the 
latter told Ashley Tempest. 

** God in heaven, Yardley, how many more 
people are you going to bring into this 
wretched business ? " had been the barrister's 
only comment. ** Mrs. Nevile, Gordon, 
Sorrel, Lady Dangerville, and now this 
Meysey — that's five, and you haven't got a 
clean case against one of them. When does 
Sorrel's trial come on ? " 

" Six weeks' time, I think." 

"Well, get a warrant out for the arrest of 
Meysey. Still, I expect Parkyns will see to 
that." 

t6S 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Yes, he told me he intended to. Fm half 
inclined to suggest arresting Lady Dangerville 
to him I " 

" No, don't. It wouldn't pay you to. She's 
too high game to fly at unless you are cock 
certain. Dangerville is in the Government, 
and, besides, you are retained by him. Leave 
it alone at present. She won't bolt, and we 
can get her into the witness-box, which will 
answer our purpose better. Undoubtedly she 
knows a lot about the murder, but it's very 
improbable she took an active part. Funnily 
enough, I met her dining at the Treberfydd's 
last night, and she pressed me to go and see 
her to-morrow. 



z66 



Chapter XIII 



IT was a bright sunny afternoon when 
Tempest left his chambers and strolled 
gently along to Grosvenor Square to keep 
his appointment with Lady Dangerville. 
He was shown into a dainty boudoir, to find 
its mistress awaiting him in a charming tea- 
gown, evidently, from her manner, intending 
to do all she could to please. Tempest was 
not surprised to hear the order given, on his 
arrival, that Lady Dangerville was not at home 
to anybody else. As he sat sipping his tea and 
listening to her witty conversation, he closely 
scanned the face of his hostess. That she was 
remarkably handsome he knew well, had known 
it for long from the conversation of mutual 
acquaintances, and from pictures in the illus- 
trated papers and chance meetings, but he had 
never before fully realized how wonderfully 
good-looking and gracefiil she really was. He 
had expected to see a woman a little short of 
the beauty of the photographers ; he was sur- 
prised to find the photographs at fault, and not 
the real face. But the tremulous mouth, the 
twitching fingers that crushed the dainty 

handkerchief they held into a tiny ball, and the 

267 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

deep, vertical line on her forehead, between her 
eyebrows, and the weary, hunted look in her 
eyes, told their tale and indicated the con- 
suming anxiety she suffered. And all the time 
Tempest marvelled, as Yardley had done, at 
the amazing self-control with which the woman 
wittily bandied too and fro a highly educated 
and accomplished version of the badinage and 
persiflage of the Society to which she belonged. 

At last came a pause in the conversation, 
and, gathering her courage in both hands — the 
barrister could see and note the effort — she 
asked him — 

** Mr. Tempest, is there any mortal thing in 
the world that you want, that I can help you 
to get. My husband is wealthy, and a member 
of the Cabinet. I have a good deal of influence 
myself. Can either of us do anything for 
you ? " 

The barrister guessed what would follow the 
question, but he hadn't the heart to break this 
dainty butterfly's wings ; he pitied her in her 
trouble, and he answered her quite seriously. 

" Lady Dangerville, it's kind of you to wish 
to help me, but I don't think you can. I want 
the love of a certain woman, but that I've got 
to earn myself. I don't think there is much 
beyond that that I want. I have quite enough 

z68 



M» 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

in the way of private means for my modest 
wants, and money would not affect the love of 
the lady I spoke of. As to my profession, 
which I think is what you mean, I am making 
a far bigger income than I should as a Lord of 
Appeal, and I think the Chancellorship is the 
only post I should care to take. That I think 
it is beyond even your husband's power to 
help me to. 1 really don't see how you can 
help me." 

Lady Dangerville rose, and, unlocking a 
bureau, she took a sealed note from it addressed 
to Tempest, and passed it to him without com- 
ment. It was very brief — 

"My dear Ashley, 

" I hate to ask favours from you to 
whom I myself owe so much, but Veronica 
Dangerville is a dear friend of mine, and she 
is in great trouble. I know no one else 
to ask. If you can help her, will you do so 
to please 

"Yours affectionately, 

"Pauline Merioneth.'* 

Tempest folded the note and put it in his 

pocket. His face was very grave. 

" Lady Dangerville," he said, " I am sorely 

269 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

afraid there are certain things which will pre- 
vent my helping you, if I have guessed rightly 
why you wished to see me ; but I may be 
wrong, and, right or wrong, if I see any pos- 
sible way of serving you I will." 

" Was the note necessary ? The Duchess 
asked me not to use it if 1 could persuade you 
without." 

"Well, that's difficult to answer. I don't 
think it would have been in the ordinary way, 
but I am so wholly in the dark at present." 

** Mr. Tempest, I want your advice. I can't 
get to you professionally because I dare not 
trust any solicitor, but Pauline knows all about 
my trouble, and she said that you would, if she 
asked you, treat it as an act of friendship to 
me or to her. Mr. Tempest, I'm in fearful 
trouble, not for myself, but for some one who 
is nearer and dearer to me than my husband. 
That's an awful thing to say, I know, and, on 
the face of it, I know there is only one con- 
clusion that can be drawn. It isn't a right 
conclusion, but it must pass, and you must 
think that, and then you will understand exactly 
how I feel. Some day, perhaps, I'll tell you 
the truth, but 1 can't now. I'm not a free 
agent. God I How I hate all this mystery, 

but it isn't entirely of my making. You must 

170 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

think what you like — only, for the sake of very 
pity, don't think too hardly of me. Now, my 
trouble is this. I went to pay a call at a certain 
address in London, and, as I was coming away, 
I saw, just inside the gate of the next house, 
something which I picked up. It was some- 
thing I recognized, for it was a present I myself 
had given to this friend who is so dear to me. 
I picked it up and thought little about it, 
simply intending to surprise my friend when I 
showed it to him, but I found out afterwards 
that a murder had been committed there, and 
now the police have found out that my friend 
was there. They accuse him of the murder, 
and, God help him and me, he had good reason 
to commit it ; and it*s all through me. I want 

you to save him '* 

** Stop, please. Lady Dangerville ; it*s what I 
was afraid of. You are speaking of Captain 
Nevile, and your visit to Warwick Gardens. 
I know the police found half a broken sleeve- 
link belonging to a Mr. Meysey — a sleeve-link 
that was a present from you. I don't know 
what you found, but I must tell you at once 
that I am briefed for Dick Sorrel, the book- 
maker, who is arrested for the murder, so I am 
afraid I can't do anything for you. But there 

are other barristers who are far cleverer than 

171 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I am" — and he mentioned several — "go to any 
one of them. If you don't want to take a 
solicitor into your confidence, simply employ 
anybody to arrange a consultation, and then 
say you want to see the barrister alone. It's 
unprofessional, but I've very little doubt it 
would be winked at. But I'm already briefed 
in that case, so you are simply putting yourself 
into the hands of the enemy by telling me 
anything. Still, there is no harm done yet. 
You've told me nothing I didn't know already. 
I suppose it was the other half of the sleeve- 
link that you found. We've been hunting 
for it." 

"But, Mr. Tempest, you must help me. 
You'll get this man Sorrel off easily enough. 
I've read the evidence at the inquest, and he 
can't have murdered him." 

"Yes, Lady Dangerville, I shall get Dick 

Sorrel off, but" — and his voice fell and was 

wondrously gentle, as he concluded — "I'm 

afraid the only way I can do it is by proving 

that Meysey committed the murder, and I 

think 1 shall be forced to prove that by your 

evidence. I'd do anything on God's earth that 

I could to please the slightest whim of the 

Duchess of Merioneth. I'd do a great deal to 

be of service to you yourself, Lady Dangerville, 

17a 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

but I have taken the brief for Sorrel, and he is 
an innocent man, and I can't let his life be 
jeopardized. YouVe asked me for more than 
it is in my power to give, for youVe practically 
asked me for the life of an innocent man. I 
know you don't mean it in that sense, but that 
is what it amounts to." 

** But can't you give his brief to somebody 
else, telling them everything you know up to 
the present, and then come and work for me 
and my friend ? " 

Tempest thought for a moment or two as he 
paced up and down the room. Lady Danger- 
ville was standing with her back to the mantel- 
piece, a world of anxiety and fear in her eyes. 
At last he spoke. 

" No, I'm afraid that's not possible ; there's 
a weak point in Sorrel's case, and I know of it. 
If I came to you I could not use it ; another 
man might if he could find it. You'd do better 
to go to some one else. I'm sorry, for I'd like 
to have helped you." 

And so they parted. The interview had 
crumpled up Lady Dangerville, whom the 
barrister left sobbing her heart out, her face 
buried in the cushions of the sofa, but it had 
broken Tenipest, for it had taken away all the 
zest he had felt in the case. He knew that 

173 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

every step he took, every word he would speak 
for Dick Sorrel, would mean but another link 
forged in the chain of evidence to convict one 
for whom the Duchess of Merioneth had 
pleaded to him, and pleaded in vain. 

He thought over the matter thoroughly, and 
came to the decision that he would throw up 
the brief for Sorrel, and take no part whatever 
in the case. At least that would give him the 
satisfaction of knowing that if he could not do 
what he was urged to do, at any rate he was 
not deliberately playing in opposition. 

It had taken him three days to come to that 
decision, and having done so, he at once wrote 
to Sorrel personally, and to the solicitor who 
had sent him the brief. To the former he said 
frankly that the police had made discoveries 
implicating another person, concerning whom 
there were personal reasons which absolutely 
precluded him going any further. He felt 
sure that any barrister would now be able to 
get an acquittal, and he threw himself on the 
generosity of Sorrel to release him. He found 
he had no stamps, and his clerk had gone, so 
he put the letters aside to post in the morn- 
ing, and in the hope of obtaining some little 
distraction for his thoughts, and in the vain 
effort to dismiss the matter from his mind, he 

174 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

changed, dined at his club, and then finished 
the evening at the Empire. 

But he was sore perplexed as to whether he 
was doing right, for he always — and no doubt 
it was the secret of his success as a barrister — 
made his cases a matter of personal interest and 
concern. They ceased to be mere professional 
work when once he had read his briefs, and 
this was the first time in which he had palpably 
failed a client in this way. And he felt and 
was confoundedly worried. He seemed on the 
horns of a dilemma, from which there was no 
means of escape except through doing some- 
body a mean turn. And meanness and 
Tempest were as far asunder as the poles. 

It was nearly midnight when he returned to his 
chambers, and let himself in with his latchkey. 
His manservant met him in the hall with the 
news that a lady, who had declined to give her 
name, was waiting for him in his room. 

" A lady 1 " he exclaimed in astonishment. 

He entered his sitting-room, and, seated in 
his own big armchair, he saw the Duchess of 
Merioneth. Dressed in a beautiful gown of 
dazzling white, the collar of a great opera coat 
setting off her beautiful dark hair, and her eyes 
dancing with amusement at his surprise, she 
waited for him to speak. 

175 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

« Why, Pauline ! " he exclaimed. " What 
on earth are you playing ducks and drakes 
with your reputation for, by coming here at 
this time of night ? " 

She laughed. 

"Ah, Ashley, I don't think that matters 
much between us. The world at large judged 
me long ago — judged me and sentenced me. I 
am content to risk your judgment. I know I'm 
safe with you. Besides, I've come over from 
Paris specially to see you, and I must go back 
to-morrow. I've been here three times this 
evening, but you were out, so I came to the 
conclusion I'd better wait till you came in." 

" Well, here I am, darling. But why did you 
bother to come to England ? You'd only to 
send me one word, and I would have come to 
Paris at once. It would have saved you the 
journey." 

" I came chiefly because I thought it would 
prove to you that the matter I have come to 
see you about was of importance to me. I 
wanted you to know that before I asked the 
favour I've come to beg for." 

" What is it, dearest ? " 

She rose from her chair and, placing both 
hands on his shoulders, looked him straight in 
the eyes. 

176 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Ashley," she said, " I want you to help 
Veronica Dangerville." 

" Pauline, it simply is, I can't." 

And then he told her everything from 
beginning to end, and showed her the letters 
which were still lying there waiting to be 
posted. 

Her eyes glowed with pleasure and ad- 
miration. 

" Oh, Ashley," she said, " I wonder if you 
ever did a crooked thing in your life ? " 

" Lots, Fm afraid, dear, but I can't do this. 
I'm not infallible, darling, but I've thought and 
thought, and, as far as I can see at present, 
Meysey seems most likely to be guilty, and 
Sorrel mustn't be punished for Meysey's 
crime. Even Lady Dangerville believes 
Meysey guilty." 

" But are you sure of it, Ashley ? " and she 
looked up at him with pleading eyes. "You 
know, all the world, except you, dear, thought 
that I was guilty when I was going through 
that awful time you pulled me out of. Don't 
make too sure of Meysey's guilt — the. case 
against him isn't so strong as it was against 
me. Can't you prove that both he and Sorrel 
are innocent. I don't ask you to sacrifice 
Sorrel, but prove them both innocent." 

177 M 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

The man hesitated and wavered. 

" Come and sit down, Ashley. Veronica 
told me I could tell you everything, and you 
will see that you really must try." 

They sat down together, he in the armchair, 
to which she had gently pushed him, and she 
perched on the arm of it, as she quietly told him 
the story. He listened in blank amazement. 

" It's impossible," he said. 

" No, dear ; it's the literal truth I've told 
you. Now, you must help her, for you see 
what the result will be if you don't. Yes," 
she said, in answer to his question, " the child 
is Meysey's child." 

" Pauline, I wish you hadn't told me. It's 
compounding a felony." 

" Who cares two straws for that ? I think 
she's wrong in all the whole thing, but she can't 
back out now." 

" No, I admit that ; but, good God I what a 
terrific stake she is gambling for I " 

« You'U help her, then, Ashley ? ** 

For a long time he was silent. 

"Dearest," he said, "the odds are forty 
thousand to one that I can get them both off, 
but I'll try. Only Sorrel will have to be told 
something — not everything, of course — be- 
cause we must risk an adverse verdict for him, 

178 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

but it must be on this condition — that if I fail 
and the verdict is against him, everything must 
be made public, for I can*t risk his life." 

" Very well, Ashley ; I'll agree to that. 
Give me the letter you had written to Mr. 
Sorrel, and I'll try to get permission to see 
him to-morrow. We've had many a bet 
together, and I feel sure he will remember 
me, and if he does I think I can persuade him 
to agree to run the risk. It isn't really much 
risk, even if the worst comes to the worst." 

" Now, dear, it's too late to take you to the 
Savoy for supper to-night. Will you have 
supper here with me ? Let's cook it ourselves. 
Where are you staying ? " 

*' At my own house. It's all dismantled, but 
I wired to the housekeeper, and she has got me 
a couple of rooms into habitable condition." 

Like a couple of children, they fried eggs and 
bacon in the diminutive kitchen attached to 
Tempest's chambers, laughing and joking. 

"Ashley," she said, "if I ever do marry you 

— no, I didn't say I was going to, and it's no 

good your asking me again at present" — and 

she held him off at arms' length ; " but if I do, I 

declare I'll come and live with you in chambers. 

It's too fiinny the way you bachelors do things. 

Good gracious I why, you'll get all the eggs full 

179 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

of bits of shell. You need some lessons in 
breaking eggs over a frying-pan/* And she 
took the frying-pan into her own hands. 

Tempest hurried her away as soon as the 
impromptu meal was over, and escorted her to 
her own house. 

But as he tumbled into bed that night, just 
when the dawn was breaking through the 
smoky sky of London, he felt happier than he 
had done for several days past, for now he 
thought he saw his way clearly to the end. 
For in such manner does the ready wit of a 
woman, and the love of a woman, solve our 
perplexities, and point out the road upon which 
it seems good to travel. Tempest, whatever 
else he was, was human, and he passionately 
loved every hair on the proud and dainty head 
of the woman who had trusted herself and her 
reputation so unreservedly in his hands. 

The next day the barrister and the Duchess 
of Merioneth met by accident in the Park. 

"Yes," she said, "Tm going back to Paris 

to-night. I don't much care about London. 

Here I used to know so many people. There 

I know no one, and there's work waiting for 

me to do. I really only came over to see you. 

But I'm very glad of the chance of another talk 

with you. I've been through all the trouble 

i8o 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

myself, you see. I think I shall have to write a 
book some day, describing the way you got me 
off. The public never knew the ending of my 
case, and I'm beginning to think I know some- 
thing about detective work myself. Ashley, 
what is really the evidence against Mr. Meysey ? " 

The barrister answered deliberately. 

" Looking at it from his side, there's precious 

little — not enough to hang a dog on. There is 

simply the solitary fact that a broken cufF-link, 

which undoubtedly belonged to him, has been 

found just outside the rooms where Nevile's 

body was discovered. That's all the other side 

know at present, and that alone amounts to 

nothing. Possibly ground for a little suspicion, 

but in itself nothing beyond that. But we, on 

the other hand, also know he had an adequate 

motive for committing the murder. The other 

side haven't guessed at such a motive yet, and 

I don't think they will tumble across it by 

accident ; but the mischief of the thing for 

Meysey is this — that at present the murder is an 

insoluble mystery, and Yardley and the police 

are blindly groping for a solution, and, in the 

hope of finding a solution, are ferretting out 

the antecedents of every person that there is 

the smallest reason to suppose can be in the 

remotest way connected with the afiair. That's 

i8i 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

where the danger lies. If they had a cut-and- 
dried story ready one would know what there 
was to fight, but we are all absolutely in the 
dark as to what will turn up. There isn't 
really much actual evidence against Sorrel. 
Personally, I should put it down unhesitatingly 
to the Jew if it were not that we had proof that 
he lost ;^40,ooo by Nevile's death. But of 
course my point of view now is absolutely 
changed. At first I was in it for the Jockey 
Club to find out the exact hour of death, then 
I had to *get off' Mrs. Nevile, then I was con- 
cerned to *get off' Sorrel, and now I have to 
*get off' Meysey as well. It seems to me the 
simplest way will be to give up the ex parte 
attitude, and really set to work to find out what 
is actually the truth." 

" Yes, that seems best, Ashley. You did it 
for me, you know, so I've no doubt you can do 
it again. You see, Veronica is so certain of 
Mr. Meysey's innocence. It's a shame to 
bother you and put you to do detective's 
work, but the real detectives seem such fools. 
I sometimes wonder if they ever find out 
anything." 

" Oh, take my word for it they find out a 
very great deal, and they notice things. They 
are trained to do it. Take Yardley, for instance. 

182 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Put him for ten seconds In a room, and you 
could then rearrange that room as you liked, 
I'm certain he could put it back exactly as it 
was when he saw it ; but he's like all the rest 
who are at the game. They lack imagination, 
and they don't always tumble to the meanings 
of the things they notice. Now, it's a funny 
thing, a man with a keen imagination is 
very seldom sufficiently exact to be reliable in 
matters of observation. If you could find a 
man with the double capacity of exactitude of 
observation and a brilliant imagination, you 
would have the ideal detective, but the two 
qualities are so radically in opposition that you 
very seldom, if ever, get them in conjunction. 
When you do, you usually get a marvellous 
*man of science,' a professor, or that kind 
of person. Now, I've suggested to Yardley 
what the real solution has been in five or six 
of his big cases, because I've seen reasons 
for the things he has observed, but when it 
comes to observation I'm a perfect duffer, 
whilst he never seems to miss the most trivial 
point." 

^'Well, you and he between you seem to 
work miracles occasionally. But I think I am 
inclined to give you the greater part of the 
credit." 

183 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



" Ah, dear, I'm afraid that's the partiality of 
your judgment," 

" Perhaps. I think it's my woman's instinct. 
Why, Mr. Yardley has found out nothing 
really valuable about this Nevile murder — now 
has he ? " 

"Don't be so certain, Pauline. I can't tell 
even you all he has found out. And he hasn't 
really been working at it properly. He isn't 
retained by anybody, you know." 

« Shall I retain him ? " 

Tempest thought for a bit, and then answered 
slowly — 

"No, better not. There is likely to be a 
conflict of interests if you do ; for something 
else is mixed up with this murder that you are 
Ignorant of, and it's something I can't tell you." 

" Well, then, I can only wish you luck and 
success. Write and let me know what happens. 
Thanks — that's good of you if you don't mind 
just walking home with me." 



X84 



Chapter XIV 



cc 




ARKYNS," said Yardley, when next 
the two detectives met, "you're 
official — Vm not. If you get hold 
of Meysey first, you will have to 
warn him that what he says may be used in 
evidence against him. I needn't ; and there 
are a few little questions I want to ask him. 
Give me an hour with him first. I'll see he 
doesn't give you the slip ; but there are all 
sorts of things hanging on it, and I must talk 
to him." 

" That's very risky, Yardley." 

*^ I can't help it. If you are going to turn 
nasty, I must go out to Madeira to meet him." 

" Well, have your own way — only don't let 
it come out we arranged it, no matter what 
happens ; and for the Lord's sake don't let him 
slip through your fingers." 

" Oh, trust me ; " and so it was arranged, 
and in due course Yardley waited on the pier 
for the arrival of the boat on which Meysey 
was serving, and was one of the first to board 
her. It had puzzled him immensely that Lady 
Dangerville had travelled down by the same 
train that he did, and he was still more 

185 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

surprised to find her waiting on the pier when 
he arrived. 

She recognized him at once with a start of 
vexation and annoyance, and, hailing a cab, was 
at once driven rapidly away. 

Yardley was glad, for it was of extreme 
importance that he should interview Meysey 
before the latter had any chance of a conversa- 
tion with the Countess. But the detective had 
counted his chickens a little too soon, as he 
recognized when he saw a telegraph-boy hand 
a message to Meysey before he had a chance of 
speaking. 

" May I speak to you, Mr. Meysey ? ** 

The man looked him up and down. 

" And who the devil may you be ? '* 

" My name's Yardley, and I am anxious for 
a few moments' private conversation with you." 

" Yardley, is it ? " and the other glanced at 
the telegram in his hand again. "Well, I'm 
sorry I'm too busy to attend to you. I've got 
a great deal to do ; " and he turned on his heel. 

" But my business is very urgent," pleaded 
the other. 

The first officer turned and looked the 
detective up and down. 

" It may be. I really don't know. What I 

do know is, that it doesn't interest me in the 

i86 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

slightest, so you will please attend to it yourself 
and keep it to yourself." 

"It concerns you rather intimately. I've 
come here to ask you what you know of the 
murder of Captain Nevile." 

Meysey looked at the detective in astonish- 
ment. 

" What do I know ? Why, absolutely 
nothing, and care less." 

" That's all very fine, but you are going to 
be arrested for it. And I know, also, that that's 
what Lady Dangerville came to the Pier to 
try to see you about, and it's what she has 
telegraphed to you about. Mr. Meysey, it 
isn't the very smallest use you denying it. 
One of your sleeve-links was found there, 
and if you weren't in any danger Lady 
Dangerville wouldn't have bothered to come 
down and see you, though I admit I don't 
understand why she should bother even if you 
are in danger. We have known all along that 
she knew a great deal more about it than she 
would admit, and as it is, things look black 
enough against her. I suppose this is the 
explanation — she's trying to warn you ?" 

"No doubt that is so." 

" Then don't you think you had better tell 

me what you know ? It's not my business to 

187 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

get anybody convicted. I am simply concerned 
to find out what are the true facts. If you 
yourself didn't commit the murder — and I'm 
hanged if I can see any reason why you should — 
the best way to divert any danger and suspicion 
from yourself is to tell me what you actually do 
know, so that we can follow up any due you 
give me, and get our hands on the actual 
criminal. I think you would be wise to tell 
me. 

" Then I think I'll see you damned to all 
eternity before I do," replied the sailor quietly, 
as he walked away and went on with his duties. 

Yardley gave up the attempt and said no 
more, and at the appointed time Parkyns came 
on board with a warrant for Meysey's arrest. 
The latter accepted his arrest without the 
smallest fuss, and after a brief explanation with 
his commanding officer, accompanied Parkyns 
to London in custody without demur. 

In due course, Meysey was brought before a 
police magistrate and remanded, and the brief 
to defend him was placed in the hands of 
Tempest in due form. 

But in spite of the many hours he had spent 
on the matter, the barrister was absolutely 
unable to put his hand on the solution, and he 
was slowly coming to the conclusion that if he 

i88 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

was to keep his word to the Duchess he had 
nothing more to depend upon than his ability 
as a barrister to employ, on behalf of the 
accused, all the tricks of his profession. Though 
he had few rivals when playing that particular 
game, it was one he disliked, for it seemed to 
him to infringe very closely on what he 
regarded as the ethics of his calling. And. that 
was the exact position of affairs when an entirely 
new development occurred. 



189 



Chapter XV 




^* "]|p "^ OW'S the murder getting along, 

Yardley ? ** said Inspector 

Parkyns, the next time the two 

detectives met, a few days later, 

** Getting on, indeed I It's getting so tangled 

up that the more I find out the worse the thing 

seems. I never in all my life came across such 

a mix up, unless it was that Mauleverer case. 

Let's see, you were in that as well, weren't you ? 

One keeps on finding out things all the time, 

but the beastly things won't fit, and I don't 

know what to make of it. We've got a round 

dozen clinking good clues, and you can follow 

'em all up, plain, straightforward sailing, and 

they all lead you infallibly to a dozen different 

people, and yet at the end of it, when you get 

there, you haven't got enough evidence to 

prove any one of the lot to be guilty." 

" Getting a bit tired of the job, eh ? " 

"Tired of it, man, why, I'm crazy over it. 

I'm blind sick of it I'd have chucked it all 

up ages ago, only I'm being paid so well on 

another job, and I feel so certain that it is mixed 

up somehow with Nevile's murder. Besides 

that, I am absolutely confident that Ashley 

190 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Tempest — the barrister, you know — has either 
got at the conclusion, or thinks he has. I can*t 
get him to talk. Not that he ever opens his 
mouth very wide, but in this case he and I 
have been, as it were, acting together. We 
were together for the Jockey Club, and for 
Mrs. Nevile. I've been going to him all the 
time with the information I could get, and 
he'd talk things over and help, because he's 
said all along that if we could find out the 
truth it would help him with Dick Sorrel's 
case. You know he's briefed for Sorrel. He 
tells me one day quite casually he's going to 
tea with Lady Dangerville, and from that time 
he's simply shut up like an oyster. He doesn't 
say anything definite, or that he knows any- 
thing, or that he doesn't want to talk it over. 
But I can get nothing out of him — not even a 
suggestion — and, as a rule, he's ready enough 
with those. All he seems to care about now 
is to get to know how much I know. When I 
tackled Lady Dangerville I felt certain she 
knew something, and now Tempest has seen 
her I feel certain he knows something, so the 
probability is she has told him that something, 
and what that something is I'm going to find 
out, or bust. I'm pretty sure it's got to do 
with Meysey somehow, but for the life of me 

191 



y 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I can't see what the connection is between Lady 
Dangerville and Meysey." 

** There isn*t any that we can find out," 
replied the inspector. " We know the lives of 
both of them pretty thoroughly. I should very 
much question if they've ever met, from what 
weVe ascertained, though, of course, it's quite 
possible they have ; perhaps it's likely, if a guess 
of mine is right." 

**Well, then, what is it that Tempest has 
found out ? " 

" Are you sure he's found out anything ? I 
rather fancy you are making a mistake, Yardley. 
Haven't you heard he is briefed to defend 
Meysey ? " 

" What, both of them ? The interests of the 
two are diametrically opposed." 

*^ Well, it seems funny, but it's a fact." 

" What do you make of it all, Parkyns ? " at 
last asked Yardley. " I'm just bewildered." 

The two detectives were on the Embankment, 
leaning on the wall and gazing out over the 
water. The inspector hesitated before he 
answered, but at last he said — 

"Well, we are all in the same boat, so I 

think we'd better pool our information. Look 

here, Yardley, did you know Meysey was 

married ? " 

192 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"No; is he?" 

" Yes ; heard it down at Southampton, and 
looked up the register. He was married to a 
girl named Elizabeth Smith." 

« Well, does that help ? " 

"Wait a bit Do you know what Mrs. 
Nevile*s name was before she married ? " 

" No. It wasn't Elizabeth Smith, surely." 

"Yes, it was, old man. You've got it in 
once." 

" Are you certain it*s the same woman ? 
Have you asked Mrs. Nevile if she knows 
Meysey ? " 

" No, for the very simple reason that she has 
disappeared as absolutely and completely as if 
the earth had swallowed her up. She walked 
out of Court the day the magistrate dismissed 
the charge against her, and, as far as we can 
ascertain, not a soul has set eyes on her since." 

" But what's her object in doing it after she's 
got off?" 

** Well, I imagine she guesses her past 
history will be looked up, and I suppose she 
doesn't fancy running her head into a prosecu- 
tion for bigamy." 

" Which of the two did she marry first ? " 

" Meysey." 

** Who was she really ? " 

193 N 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Half chorus-girl, half tart, and a jolly 
good-looking woman she was, too." 

" Yes ; I saw her in court, of course. But 
I say, Parkyns, that opens up a new line 
altogether. No wonder Meysey had a reason 
for murdering Nevile. I suppose the woman, 
like so many sailor's wives, looked for an ad 
interim home. But how did Tempest find that 
out ? I wonder if that was what Lady Danger- 
ville knew ? How would she know ? What 
do you make of it ? " 

** Well, what seems to me the most likely 
solution is simply this. Meysey marries the 
woman on the quiet — Tve found out his 
people knew nothing of his marriage — and he 
probably fixes her up in rooms somewhere. 
He*s got nothing beyond his pay, so he can't 
have been able to allow her much, and she, no 
doubt, gets sick of the quiet life. Then she 
meets Nevile — who at that time was, at any 
rate, living as a wealthy man — and carries on 
with him and marries him. I don't suppose 
she ever let on to Nevile that she was a 
married woman, because in each marriage she 
describes herself as a spinster. Besides, Nevile 
wasn't such an ass as to marry a married 



woman." 



" Does she give her father's name ? 

194 



99 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" No, she doesn't in either case. One isn't 
bound to do it. Very likely she was illegiti- 
mate. But the age agrees in both cases. Now, 
we've got to find out whether she had thrown 
over Meysey for good and all — deserted him — 
or whether she tried to run the two shows at 
the same time. You see, Meysey is not often 
in England, and, as he kept his marriage quiet, 
he'd be bound to spend a good deal of his time 
with his own people. I'm inclined to think 
she ran both husbands together, because his 
old father admits that every time he was in 
England there were always a few days which 
he didn't account for. And that still occurs 
after she had married Nevile. Well, say, then, 
that Meysey traces the said Elizabeth somehow, 
and turns up there and finds her living with 
Nevile. There would be a deuce of a row in 
such a case. Now we can prove that Nevile 
was at the rooms, that Mrs. Nevile was there, 
and that Meysey was there. It's quite likely 
the three met there. We don't know at what 
time either Meysey or the lady left. My own 
opinion is that Mrs. Nevile's tale is correct, 
that the Jew went there and quarrelled with 
Nevile. She says, of course, that she left in 
the middle of that quarrel, but it seems to me 
much more likely that she left in the middle of 

195 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the quarrel which must have occurred between 
Nevile and Meysey. It seems so curious that 
she can't, or won't, account for her movements 
that day. Frankly, I don't believe that story 
of hers about going and sitting in the park. 
It's too thin altogether." 

"That's all very well, Parkyns, and if that 
stood alone I should say the case would be 
easy to fix up against Meysey, but how are you 
going to bring Lady Dangerville in ? " 

" I'm not going to. She may know some- 
thing, but you take my word, Yardley, when 
we really get the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth, you will find it doesn't 
go beyond that." 

" But, my dear man, she goes to the house, 
and we know she gave Meysey the cufF-links. 
She must be in it somehow." 

" You are quite wrong. We only know she 

went down Warwick Gardens ; we don't 

know she went to the house. As to the links, 

I'll tell you what I think, though, of course, 

it's only a guess. Meysey's an officer on a 

big passenger liner. Those chaps get lots of 

presents. I've found out that before she was 

married she went a voyage to South Africa and 

back for her health. She used to be very 

delicate — she isn't very strong now. I haven't 

196 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

found out yet which ship she went by or 

whether Meysey was on the ship at the time, 

but I quite expect to find he was, and I guess 

it will turn out that the links were a kind of 

return for kindness and attention on the voyage, 

added, very likely, to a mild flirtation en route* 

Meysey isn't a bad-looking chap, and he's 

got rather taking manners, and she's got the 

reputation of being a bit flirtatious. Very 

likely she was more so before she married, but 

as the old Duchess was on board with her at 

the time, as likely as not the present was really 

the old lady's, and the daughter simply gave 

the orden But all the same, it's just possible 

that when she went down Warwick Gardens 

she may have seen or heard something of the 

murder, and may quite likely have seen and 

recognized Meysey. Well, yoii never knew 

any woman give away a good-looking man 

when she was not playing a hand in the game 

herself, and when she had nothing to gain or 

lose either way. If she knows anything at all, 

you bet that's all she knows, and it would 

quite account for her trying to warn Meysey. 

Any soft-hearted woman would do that." 

" Well, Parkyns, I must say you've invented 

a tale at last that fits everything bar Sorrel, and 

bar the Jew, of course." 

197 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Oh I Gordon fits in right enough. He 
died from heart disease all right, no doubt 
consequent upon his scrap with Nevile. He 
must have punished the Jew pretty severely." 

** And what do you make of Sorrel ? " 

" To be perfectly candid, I don't see in the 
least where he comes in. Sorrel swears blind 
he has never heard of Meysey. It may be a 
lie, but I think it's true, and Meysey won't say 
a word of any sort or kind." 

"Parkyns, why was Sorrel betting against 
Finality the day before the Oaks ? " 

** That's more than I can tell you. I can't 

see what he's got to do with the thing at all, and 

so I treat him as quite extraneous. If Sorrel 

was in it, the thing was premeditated, and I'm 

confident that the murder of Captain Nevile 

was not a premeditated one, though I'm hanged 

if I quite know why I feel so certain. There 

isn!t a sign of premeditation about it in my 

view, however, and weVe many things which 

point to a mere row. Unless you can trace 

some connection between Sorrel and Meysey 

or Sorrel and Mrs. Nevile, then Sorrel's betting 

I put down as either coincidence or else racing 

* on the crook ; ' and as far as this case goes, 

it doesn't matter in the least which it was. If 

Sorrel had got at either Nevile's trainer or his 

198 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

jockey, that explains everything as far as he is 
concerned." 

" Well, Parkyns, youVe no doubt explained 
it all to your own satisfaction, but don't forget, 
my friend, your story is all simply based on the 
one item of Mrs. Nevile's supposed bigamy. 
By the way, have you compared her two 
signatures ? " 

" Not yet. I'm only going on the certificates 
they sent me from Somerset House." 

** How are you going to prove your story ? " 

" Well, the first step will be to identify the 
woman as Mrs. Meysey." 

" You'll find that rather difficult." 

"Yes, I dare say. I'm going to try the 
Registrar who married them first, but the old 
boy says his recollection is very hazy. Failing 
him, I shall try the waiter at the hotel at 
Southampton, where they stayed. He it was 
who told me Meysey was married." 

**But take it you do identify them, what 
next ? " 

"Well, I shall prove Meysey went to the 

house that morning by his broken cuflT-link. 

Then prove that much and prove the motive, 

and I'll trust to the jury. Of course, if we can 

prove he owns a revolver which will fit the 

bullet, so much the better. The man certainly 

199 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

at one time always carried a revolver. Some 
of the other officers on his ship have told me that 
much. Then Tm going to indict Mrs. Nevile 
and try to get her to turn King's Evidence." 

** You can't try her a second time." 

*^ Oh yes, you can ; she has never been 
indicted yet. The hearing before the magis- 
trate doesn't count. But I'll tell you what I 
am afraid of, and that is, that as the wife of the 
prisoner, she will decline to give evidence as a 
witness, and that she will get off scot free, as a 
wife committing a crime in the presence of and 
under the duress of her husband. But I'm 
going to try to get over that by indicting her 
separately, and trying her separately, and before 
Meysey's trial comes on." 

*^ The Crown won't stand that." 

" It all depends which judge is on the bench. 
If it's one of the chatterers, I dare say we shall 
manage it. A judge who chatters always makes 
mistakes. You can talk 'em into allowing 
almost anything as evidence." 

" Well, if you indict Mrs. Nevile again, as 
Tempest got her off- the first time, he's safe as 
houses to be briefed again for her, and he 
won't stand it for a minute." 

" He won't have to settle it, my firiend, and 
the judges don't all particularly care for Mr. 

200 




The Dangerville Inheritance 

Ashley Tempest. He talks much too plainly 
in court to please some of the old boys. If 
the Crown choose to do it, I don't see how he 
can stop it ; and if we can try her separately, it's 
any odds you like to a China orange she'll go 
into the witness-box herself, and then, my friend, 
she'll get rather a rough time when it comes to 
the cross-examination. What we shall want is 
to get her into the witness-box, and that's all I 
care about, for I bet we get the truth then 
somehow. Honestly, I don't think she did 
the murder herself, and it's her evidence and 
not her conviction that's most important to 
me. 

" Well, if that's your game, I take it the first 
step is to catch your hare — in other words, the 
said Elizabeth Meysey or Nevile." 

*^ Quite so, and I wish I knew where to look 
for her. The mischief is, I don't. Still, she is 
bound to come into our hands before long/* 



90X 



Chapter XVI 



THE two men separated, and Yardley 
walked across Trafalgar Square, 
through Green Street and Leicester 
Square, and turned into the Lounge. 
Walking upstairs, he sat down at one of the 
small tables and ordered a drink. The man 
wanted to think out quietly what Parkyns 
had told him, and he was thirsty, and so had 
selected the Leicester as a place where both 
ends might be accomplished. Now, Yardley 
knew of the blackmailing letters which had 
been sent to Lord Dangerville ; Parkyns was 
ignorant of them ; and Yardley was by no 
means disposed to dismiss Lord and Lady 
Dangerville from any relation to Captain 
Nevile's murder as lightly and summarily as 
the inspector had done. At the back of his 
mind Yardley suspected Lady Dangerville, 
And Yardley, moreover, wanted to consider 
carefully Sorrel's connection with the matter 
in his own way. He could see no reason why 
Parkyns should pitch upon the one little point 
of the identity of Mrs. Meysey and Mrs. 
Nevile — ^build up a theory upon that, and 

ignore everything else. Certainly, most things 

202 



(. 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

seemed to fit into that theory, and Parkyns 
had suggested a perfectly plausible reason why 
Lady Dangerville should have given Meysey 
the links — even why she might know some- 
thing about the murder. Moreover, if Parkyns 
proved to be correct, then the letters had 
nothing at all to do with the crime. But, 
then, so much of the inspector's theory was 
guesswork, pure and simple. 

The professional jealousy of Yardley tempted 
him to discredit an elucidation by a mere Scot- 
land Yard official, which he himself had not 
arrived at ; and he turned the suggested ex- 
planation over and over in his mind, searching 
for some flaw in its reasoning which would 
justify him in disregarding it But the more 
he thought about it the more he was compelled 
to admit it was the best explanation that had as 
yet been suggested. The only fault he could 
see was that it did not explain everything. 
:- As he sat leisurely sucking through the 
straws the long drink he had ordered, his 
'%'^ attention was arrested by a conversation which 
was taking place at the table next to him. 

He had noticed on his arrival that a good- 
looking woman was sitting there alone. She 
had just been joined by another, who took her 
seat with her back to him. 

203 



The Dangervdlle Inheritance 

The new-comer gave an order to the waiter, 
as her companion had said — 

" Gracious I Bessie, where have you sprung 
from ? I haven't seen you for months. I 
thought you had got married/* 

" So I did— honest." 

" Well, what brings you back ? Couldn't 
you stand him ? " 

"It wasn't all beer and skittles, certainly ; 
but he's dead. I'm a poor lone widow now — 
have been two months." 

" Did he leave you anything ?" 

"Not a farthing. You girls all thought I 
had got hold of a rich Johnnie. I thought so 
myself, but I soon found out my mistake. He 
was up to his neck in debt, and I saw more of 
the bailiffs than I did of him." 

*^ Poor girl ! So you've come back ? " 

" Yes. I'm going on at the Empire again." 

" Who was it ? Was it that Navy man you 
used to talk about ? " 

"No. I soon got tired of him. This 
one was in the Army. I've had enough of 
soldiers and sailors now to last me for half a 
dozen lifetimes. They none of them have any 
money, as far as I can make out." 

"I've been rather lucky lately — been in 

clover," answered her companion. " I got 

204 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

hold of a horrid little beast in here one night ; 
he was very drunk ; told me he was a trainer, 
so I asked him for a tip, and he told me to 
back Gay Girl for the Oaks. So I put a fiver 
on. Every one said 1 was a fool, and I thought 
so myself when the result of the race came in ; 
but the first — I forget its name — was dis- 
qualified afterwards, the owner was murdered ; 
you know the Nevile case, it was in all the 
papers; so I won after aU — got over ;^i5o." 

Yardley listened for the reply, but none 
came. From curiosity he turned to look at 
the last comer. Her appearance struck him as 
familiar. Rising from his seat, he made his 
way to the door, choosing a direction which 
would afford him a glimpse of the woman's 
face. He recognized her at once in spite of 
the fact that her formerly dark hair was now a 
brilliant canary colour. There could be no 
doubt it was Mrs. Nevile. He passed on to 
the doorway and down the stairs. In a moment 
his mind was made up. If she had an engage- 
ment at the Empire he knew he could always 
put his hands on her when he wanted. But 
there was much information he desired to get 
from her, and he knew that arrest would not 
only remove her from any chance of contact 
with him, but would also at once seal her lips. 

205 



The Dangermlle Inheritance 

Taking a seat in the lower bar which com- 
manded a view of the staircase to the Lounge, 
he sat down to wait. As the afternoon drew 
to a close he saw her leave and call a hansom. 
Quickly hailing another, he traced her to her 
lodgings in Great Portland Street 

Here was a new development, for her con- 
versation amply confirmed what Parkyns had 
told him. Her sailor and soldier could be 
none other than Meysey and Captain Nevile. 
Now, how was he to profit by that knowledge ? 
He was strongly tempted to go and discuss the 
matter with Ashley Tempest ; but now that the 
barrister was already briefed for both Sorrel 
and Meysey, and would in all probability be 
again briefed for Mrs. Nevile as soon as she 
was arrested, it seemed fairly evident that their 
interests in the investigation were very far from 
being identical. Nor was he anxious at the 
moment to take Inspector Parkyns into his 
confidence. He finally decided he must have 
an interview with Mrs. Nevile herself without 
delay, so he opened negotiations with an un- 
signed note making an appointment for the 
following afternoon at'the Leicester. 

He had no knowledge that the lady would 

keep the appointment that he had suggested, 

but he expected she would, so awaited her 

206 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

there. He was not surprised that she should 
be late ; but as half an hour, and finally an 
hour passed, he was coming to the conclusion 
that he had miscalculated things when the lady 
arrived. 

She took her seat at the table where he had 
himself been sitting, saying as she did so — 

" I was in twenty minds not to come, Mr. 
Yardley — oh yes, I recognized you at once 
yesterday, and I guessed the note was from 
you — but I finally decided I would. Now I 
hope it isn't any more law troubles ? " 

"I'm afraid it is, Mrs. Nevile. You know 
we haven't found out who murdered your 
husband yet." 

** Doesn't that show you and the police up 
rather badly, Mr. Yardley ? " 

"I'm not so sure about that. But I've 
found out various little things lately which I 
want to ask you about." 

" Well, ask away. I may answer or I may 
not. I may tell you the truth, but I probably 
shan't unless it suits me to do so." 

"To begin with, Mrs. Nevile, your name 
was Elizabeth Smith, wasn't it ? " 

" It was at one time off the stage." 

" Will you tell me what you know of Mr. 

Meysey ? " 

207 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Who ? " asked the woman in astonish- 
ment. 

" Mr. Meysey — William Meysey — an officer 
on one of the Union-Castle boats." 

" Never heard of him." 

" Look , here, Mrs. Nevile, I know a good 
deal more about you and your movements than 
you think. You can't expect me to swallow 
that." 

"Very well, don't then. I can't help it. 
You asked me a question and I gave you an 
answer, and that's more than I promised to do." 

" It's no good your trying to deceive me. 
I'm sorry to put it so bluntly, but I know 
perfectly well that you were married to Mr. 
Meysey." 

The woman's eyes opened wide in amaze- 
ment, and she caught her breath. Yardley 
could see her immense astonishment, but at 
once assumed it to be due to the fact that he 
had ascertained the details of her marriage. 
She stared straight at him for some time, and 
at last asked the detective — 

" How do you know that ? " 

" I've seen the register of your marriage." 

" Oh indeed 1 " 

*^ Now, don't you think you'd better tell me 
everything frankly ? " - 

808 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

She thought for a moment or two, and then 
replied — 

" I think It would make it very much easier 
if you were to tell me what else you know." 

Yardley saw at once her intention was to 
deceive him if she could, and he had quickly 
arrived at the decision that to get anything out 
of her he must, figuratively speaking, put a rope 
round her neck and show her that she practically 
ran the risk of again being accused of the 
murder. He thought that if he could drive her 
up into the corner she might turn round, and 
to save herself disclose what she knew, for that 
she did know a good deal, even if she had not 
been an active party in the crime, he felt 
convinced. 

She listened intently, whilst he, speaking 
in low tones, told her of the discovery of 
her marriage, first to Meysey, and then of her 
second marriage to Nevile. Then he told her 
it was known how the interview between Nevile 
and Gordon terminated, and how Nevile had 
been seen by a passing cabman to throw the 
Jew down the steps. 

" So you see, Mrs. Nevile," he continued, 

" it couldn*t have been Isaac Gordon who shot 

your husband, and you know it was on that 

supposition that you got off when you were 

209 o 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

charged with the murder before the magistrates. 
You say you left the house before that had 
happened, but you know you have no evidence 
at all by* which you can prove that you did. I 
don*t think you had left. Meysey was at the 
house soon afterwards — it*s no good your 
denying it ; we can prove it. Now, what I 
want to know is, what took place between you 
and Meysey and Nevile ? I presume there was 
a row ? " 

" That's not a very startling presumption.'* 

"You admit it, then?" 

" I admit nothing. Have you anything else 
to tell me ? " 

" I think Fve told you quite enough." 

" Well, then, am 1 to understand you accuse 
me of committing bigamy, and accuse me of 
murdering Captain Nevile ? Thank you, that's 
quite enough for me for one day. I'm afraid 
my nerves won't stand any more of these 
revelations. I'll wish you good afternoon, Mr. 
Yardley ; " and she rose from her chain 

** Pardon me, Mrs. Nevile, you will do 
nothing of the kind." 

" And who is to prevent me ? You are not. 
You are only a private detective. I know 
enough about the law to tell you you can't 
arrest me." 

9X0 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" But I can follow you downstairs and give 
you in charge of the first policeman we meet 
outside." 

" Oh I " and she sat down. " It's hanging 
for murder, I suppose ; what is it for bigamy ? " 
she asked. 

" Anything up to seven years." 

She laughed. 

"Well, Mr. Yardley, I suppose this con- 
versation means that if I tell you about the 
murder you will keep quiet about the bigamy. 
That i doesn't seem to shock you much, or I 
suppose I should have been arrested for that 
by now. Who else knows about the two 
marriages ? " 

"Inspector Parkyns, of Scotland Yard. It 
was he who found it out." 

The woman's face became grave, but she 
added jauntily — 

" That was very clever of him. How did he 
manage to do it ? " 

Yardley could see no reason for withholding 
the information ; rather, he thought that by 
showing it was known, and how it was known, 
she would be the more impressed, so he told 
her how the information had come to the hands 
of the inspector, and ended his remarks by 
saying — 

211 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" Now, are you going to tell me ? " 

"Well, if I do, how much will come out in 
court ? " 

" I can't say, until I hear ; but I tell you 
straight, Mrs. Nevile, somebody is going to 
be tried, and going to be convicted of this 
murder. Everything will come out that is 
necessary to prove that, but nothing more." 

" Oh, well, I don't suppose it matters much. 
To begin with, I don't know what my own 
name is. I was always called Bessie, and, as 
I didn't know what my mother's real name 
was, she had so many, I didn't trouble much. 
When I went on the stage I called myself 
Stella de Vere, and that answered all right till 
I got married. But I was afraid my marriage 
wouldn't be legal in a false name, and as Smith 
seemed the only name likely to be real out of 
those my mother used, I called myself that ; 
but Dick Sorrel is really my father. You 
hadn't guessed that, had you ? Well, he stood 
to lose a lot of money if Finality won the Oaks, 
and the night of the Derby he came round to 
me to find out if I thought I could persuade 
my husband to scratch Finality. Dick oflFered 
to pay him any amount he liked if he would, 
and told him Gordon would pay him heavily as 
welL I was to let him know in the morning, 

2xa 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

after I'd talked it over with my husband. I 

did hint it to him, but he wouldn't hear of it. 

He said he couldn't possibly make so much by 

scratching the mare as he would get by her 

winning ; but I knew Sorrel would play square 

with me, so I sent him word it should be done, 

as I had meant at the last moment to scratch 

the horse by telegram myself if necessary, and 

if I could get anything certain out of Gordon. 

That was why Sorrel was betting against 

Finality the day before the Oaks. Gordon 

came next morning to see me, not my husband 

— at least Sorrel had told him to deal with 

me — ^but whether he did it intentionally or not, 

I don't know, but it was my husband he did 

see. They at once began quarrelling about the 

money my husband owed Gordon — that much 

I heard ; but what it actually was he said that 

made my husband chuck him out I didn't hear, 

but I expect it was something about scratching 

Finality, and as Morton knew nothing about 

my arrangement, of course he wouldn't stand 

what Gordon suggested. After Gordon had 

gone, Meysey came. How he found out I had 

married Nevile, or where we were living, I 

don't know. Perhaps you can get that out of 

Meysey, but he evidently found out somehow. 

Of course there was a most fiendish row, and 

213 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

M^cysty and Nevile fought, and in the middle 
of the fight Lady Dangerville arrived. I sup- 
pose you know she and my husband had been 
carrying on, and her child was really my 
husband*s child. Did you know that ? " 

Yardley nodded as he thought of the letter 
they had found. 

"Did Lady Dangerville know that you 
were married to Captain Nevile ? " asked the 
detective. 

" No, I don't think she did till I wrote and 
told her I was going to apply for a divorce 
from my husband on the ground of his 
adultery with her and his cruelty to me. I'd 
had plenty of that when he was drunk, and 
he was drunk most nights. She and I had a 
fearful row, and my husband joined in and 
took her side, because he had never guessed 
up to then that I knew who was the father of 
her child. Finally he began to threaten me, 
and said that, unless I swore an oath to drop 
the matter, he would shoot me there and then, 
and he got out his revolver from the drawer 
and pointed it at me. Then Meysey inter- 
fered, and said I was his wife, and he wouldn't 
have that sort of thing, and he made Nevile 
put down the revolver on the table between 

them, and then we all went on wrangling, and 

214 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I remember saying that nothing on earth should 
prevent me applying for a divorce, and Meysey 
said he would prevent me because I was his 
wife and not Nevile's at all, and that, if I 
brought a divorce case on, it would only mean 
I should get convicted of bigamy myself. 
^ Never mind,* I said, * I'll risk that, and it will 
pay Nevile out for going off playing about 
with Lady Dangerville when he was supposed 
to be married to me, and it will be a nice 
exposure for both of them.* And I asked her 
how she would like it. And then she lost her 
temper — clean demented she was — and before 
any one could stop her she picked up the 
revolver off the table and fired it at me, and 
she missed me and hit my husband. Now, 
Mr. Yardley, that's the complete story." 

" If that's what happened, Mrs. Nevile, how 
do you account for the fact that the maid says 
she let nobody in after Gordon ? ** 

" My husband let Meysey in, and I let Lady 
Dangerville in." 

"How is it you didn't scratch the horse 
after all, Mrs. Nevile ? " 

" Because I knew his death amounted to the 
same thing." 

"Did Dick Sorrel pay you the money he 
had agreed to ? " 

«i5 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

*^He's making me an allowance. You 
know all about that." 

" There's one thing I can't understand. All 
the doors were locked on the inside. Now, if 
you and Meysey and Lady Dangerville were 
all in the room when your husband was shot, 
how did you all manage to get out ? " 

*^ If you'll take the trouble to look, you 
will see that the door from the bedroom into 
the hall has a spring latch, which will lock 
itself if you slam it. Now, Mr. Yardley, are 
you going to arrest me for bigamy or for 
murder } " 

"No, but we shall want you as a witness. 
However, I shall know where to find you." 



az6 



Chapter XVII 



PUTTING the woman into a cab as 
she asked, Yardley at once went 
to Scotland Yard, and told the 
whole story he had elicited from 
Mrs. Nevile to Inspector Parkyns. The latter 
listened with keen attention. 

" Well, Yardley," said the other, " I thought 
those two marriage certificates were the clue to 
the whole business, but honestly I didn't see 
how you were going to bring in either Sorrel 
or Lady Dangerville ; apparently, however, they 
both belong to the story right enough. As a 
matter of fact, every blessed thing is explained 
now, and I've no doubt we've got the right 
conclusion. It's been rather tricky work to 
get it, hasn't it, old man ? I thought at one 
time we were never going to see daylight." 
** What shall you do. Parky ns ? " 
*^ Why, arrest both of the women as soon as 
I can manage it." 

" Do you think that's necessary ? " 
"Yes. I can't see that there's any other 
course open." 

"Isn't it risky arresting Lady Dangerville 
without any actual evidence? You'll never 

217 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

get any magistrate to Issue a warrant 
without.** 

"I'll arrest Mrs. Nevile first and get a 
sworn statement out of her sooner or later, and 
on that I don't see how they can help them- 
selves. Of course I shan't arrest her Ladyship 
without a proper warrant. She's rather big 
game to fly at." 

In the course of a few hours Parkyns had 
obtained a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. 
Nevile, and set out to execute it. But on 
arriving at the address Yardley had given him 
in Great Portland Street, he found he was too 
late. The bird had flown. 

Storming with impotent rage, the inspector 
drove straight back to Yardley's rooms in the 
Adelphi. 

*^ Yardley, what in God's name induced you 
ever to let that woman out of your sight ? " 

" What on earth's the matter ? " 

" Matter ; why, she's bolted." 

"I expect she's only just changed her 
lodgings. You'll be able to get hold of her 
to-night at the Empire." 

** Not much chance of that after your threats 
of prosecution. Of course we shall try that, 
but I wouldn't give a straw, not half a straw, 
for our chance of catching her there." 

218 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Parkyns was right. A brief note resigning 
her position in the ballet was shown him when 
he called to inquire of the manager at the 
theatre. Every detective who could be spared 
was at once turned on to this particular search. 
But the effort was hopeless. For a second time 
she had disappeared, and not the smallest trace 
of any clue by which she could be found had 
she left behind her. 

*^ So you see youVe dean dished it, Yardley," 
said the inspector, when he reported the result. 
*^ That's the worst of you free-lance amateurs. 
When you do by any chance get hold of the 
right person who is wanted, you can't arrest 
them on sight, so that means some hours' notice 
always. And the wanteds generally don't seem 
to lack ability or means to get away before 
we can prevent them. You might have re- 
membered it was all my game and given me the 
tip to be present. You see, your story of what 
she said isn't even evidence against Lady 
Dangerville, so it's hopeless to try to get a 
warrant on it. Oh, Yardley, you have made 
a beastly mess of it ! " 

Yardley, to say the least of the matter, was 

irritated by what Parkyns said, and annoyed 

beyond expression by what had happened. He 

could see but one opening in front of him, and 

219 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

that was to try to obtain a second interview 
with Lady Dangerville in the hope that he 
might blufF the story out of her as he had so 
successfully extracted it from Mrs. Nevile. 

He anticipated a good deal of difficulty in 
getting a second interview with the Countess, 
but to his surprise he found on this occasion 
he was at once admitted. 

" Her Ladyship is expecting you, sir," said 
the footman, as he led the way upstairs. 

"Mr. Yardley," the lady at once asked as 
the detective entered the room, " what on earth 
is all this rubbish about arresting me ? Are 
you responsible for it ? " 

"I am not personally responsible. Lady 
Dangerville, but I have no doubt whatever that 
it is in consequence of certain information that 
I have discovered." 

" And may I ask for what particular crime I 
am to be arrested ? " 

" How did your Ladyship get to hear of the 
matter ? " 

"Do you think it likely, with my husband 
in the Cabinet, that I should not get to hear 
about it ? I was told yesterday that an appli- 
cation for a warrant against me was going to be 
made, so that I could get away if I wanted to. 
"What is it I am to be arrested for ? " 

820 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" For the murder or manslaughter of Captain 
Nevile." 

" And on what evidence ? " 

" On the evidence of Mrs. Nevile, who was 
present when you shot him ? " 

" Oh, and so I shot him, did I ? Was any 
one else present who is going to give evidence 
against me ? ** 

" Mr. Meysey was there as well." 

« What had he got to do with it ? What 
brought him at Captain Nevile's rooms ? '* 

*^ He had traced Mrs. Nevile somehow." 

"But what had he got to do with her? 
Why should he want to trace her ? " 

"Because she had married him before she 
married Captain Nevile." 

" Indeed, that's rather interesting. What 
was the date of their marriage ? " 

Yardley told her. 

"I may be very dense, Mr. Yardley, but 
really I do not see how all this explains why 
I should have shot Captain Nevile. Surely at 
our last interview I convinced you that I had 
no earthly motive for wishing for the death of 
Captain Nevile, and that I had a strong financial 
motive for desiring that he should live, at any 
rate till after he had won the Oaks." 

"But, you see, you didn't intend to kill 

221 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Captain Nevile ? You fired at his wife, and 
killed him by accident." 

" Really, I'm getting quite confused. Why 
should I want to kill Mrs. Nevile ? Don't 
forget I had never heard of the lady. We all 
thought Captain Nevile was a bachelor until 
after his death." 

"Lady Dangerville, what is the use of 
pretending you know nothing ? Will you 
please take it from me that I know everything 
that took place that morning at Captain Nevile's 
lodgings ? " 

"If you know everything, why do you 
come here to me ? Are you trying to convict 
me out of my own mouth ? If so, I decline 
to help you to do it. Mr. Yardley" — and 
she rose to her feet and drew herself to her 
full height — "do you suppose I am an utter 
fool ? Isn't it plain to you that any simpleton 
would guess that if everything were known, 
and if it were quite certain I had shot Captain 
Nevile, it wouldn't be you — a private detective 
— who would be here trying to question me, 
but somebody from Scotland Yard, with a 
proper warrant to arrest me ? There had been 
no warrant issued up to an hour ago, which is 
proof you haven't got the evidence. Do you 
think I shovdd stay here waiting to be arrested 

222 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

if I hadn't a perfect answer to any charge that 
covild possibly be brought against me? You 
must credit me, at least, with ordinary in- 
telligence. But m tell you this, Mr. Yardley, 
I am not going to be arrested. If any warrant 
is applied for on reasonable grounds it will be 
issued, but the issue will be delayed sufficiently 
long to give me the opportunity of leaving the 
country if I wish to do so. But I am not 
under the least apprehension, and I don't 
intend to leave the country. Now do you 
understand the position ? If you don't, I'll 
explain it a little more clearly. In some way 
or other your suspicions have been directed to 
me, but you are baffled to prove them, and so 
you have come, thinking to frighten me into 
a confession, or thinking I may drop some 
remark that will enable you to get hold of the 
real evidence. You want to confirm what at 
present is nothing more than your own personal 
suspicion. I admit you have certain grounds 
for a quite reasonable suspicion concerning 
me, because I tried to warn Mr. Meysey of 
your intention to arrest him, and because you 
have found out I once made him a present 
of a pair of sleeve-links, and because my late 
groom, whom I discharged for impertinence, 

tells you I went to Captain Nevile's lodgings 

223 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

the day he was murdered. Now that is all 
you have to go upon, as far as I can ascertain, 
and it's simply ridiculous your coming here 
upon that basis with a story that I shot Captain 
Nevile by accident, intending to shoot his wife, 
for which you can have no evidence, and which 
is mere surmise, and a very silly surmise. You 
have evidently a fixed idea that I know some- 
thing about this murder, which remains a 
mystery to you and everybody else. Perhaps 
I do, though perhaps my knowledge is as much 
surmise as yours ; but I tell you perfectly 
candidly that I am not to be frightened, as you 
suppose, by a story without evidence or proof. 
If you have come here to find out what I 
know, you must tell me first exactly what you 
know. What you have been saying up to 
now has been utterly absurd. Now, to begin 
with, Mr. Yardley, you had better admit at 
once that you invented the whole story to 
frighten me." 

Yardley contrasted her contemptuous in- 
difference on the previous occasion with her 
present attitude, and he thought he now 
detected an increasing anxiety in her manner. 
He hesitated as to whether he should reveal 
anything further or not. On the one hand, 

there was the chance that the police might drop 

224 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

upon Mrs. Nevile again, in which case it mat- 
tered but little what Lady Dangerville did or 
did not say. On the other hand, he had no 
doubt whatever that the Dangerville influence 
was such that it was no idle boast of the 
Countess that she would never be arrested. 
And if Mrs. Nevile could not be found, and 
if Lady Dangerville left the country, that would 
be an absolute end to any hope of a public 
elucidation of the mystery. He wondered 
whether giving Lady Dangerville the details 
would help her to create evidence to disprove 
them, and evade conviction, if she finally elected 
to stand her trial. But Yardley knew enough 
of the criminal law to be perfectly well aware 
that, though a prisoner can always reserve his 
defence, and spring it upon the prosecution at 
the trial, the prosecution must on the contrary 
disclose upon the depositions the whole of the 
evidence upon which they intend to secure the 
conviction ; and, situated as Lady Dangerville 
was, Yardley could not but see that it made little 
real diflFerence whether the Countess knew the 
details of the manner and method of his dis- 
coveries soon or late. He finally decided he 
stood a better chance of getting facts out of her 
if he should apparently treat her with candour ; 

so, without any further preliminary beating 

225 p 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

about the bush, he told her exactly what Mrs. 
Nevile had told him. 

She stood throughout the recital saying 
nothing, making no comment. He noticed 
her eyes blazed with anger when he repeated 
what Mrs. Nevile had said concerning the 
paternity of her child, but that he put down 
to anger at the disclosure. When he came to 
the end, she merely said — 

« Is that all ? " 

"Yes, Lady Dangerville, that is all. Now, 
I shall be glad if you will tell me what you 
know." 

She hesitated for a moment ; then, speaking 
in a calm, collected voice, she said — 

^*Mr. Yardley, I shall tell you nothing 
whatever. I never undertook to do so." 

« You did." 

" Pardon me, I did not. I simply said that 

if you wished to know what I knew you had 

better tell me frankly what you knew. That 

was all I said. But 1 will tell you this : When 

I heard about the application for the warrant, I 

sent last night, and my solicitors arranged a 

consultation with Mr. Ashley Tempest. He 

said he thought it not unlikely that you would 

come here again, and he advised me to see 

you, and to get as much out of you as I could 

226 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

as to what you knew. I think you will admit 
I have been rather successful, Mr. Yardley. 
Personally, I think if I were a detective I would 
learn, in the first place, to control my loquacity." 

Turning her back on him, she ostentatiously 
rang the bell, and, seating herself at a writing- 
table, commenced to attend to her correspon- 
dence as if no such thing as Mr. Dennis Yardley, 
detective, had ever walked upon the earth. 

As he left the house Yardley was flaming 
with passion. No man likes being treated with 
contempt, and the blatant contempt to which 
Lady Dangerville had subjected the detective 
was more than the man could stand. He 
mentally registered a vow that the Countess 
should suflFer in return for the treatment she 
had given him. It was with an inward chuckle 
of satisfaction that he remembered she had not 
denied one single item of the story he had told 
her. He himself had not an atom of doubt it 
was true from beginning to end and as far as it 
went ; but, as he could not but admit to him- 
self. Lady Dangerville had not exhibited any 
alarm, and he was sorely afraid there was some 
item missing in the narrative, an item the 
Countess knew about but of which he was igno- 
rant, which might and which, as he was forced 

to admit to himself, probably would entirely 

227 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

alter the complexion of everything. On the 
other hand, it might be that Lady Dangerville's 
nonchalance arose from the fact that she herself 
knew the fatal shot had been fired by accident, 
and knew, moreover, that she could evade 
arrest at any moment she felt inclined to do so. 
But whichever was the case, Yardley had to 
recognize that he had not obtained one atom 
of information from the lady, and that he left 
the house no whit wiser than when he entered it. 

In despair he went and talked over matters 
with Parkyns. But the inspector was grumpy 
and disinclined to make suggestions. 

" I tell you what it is, Yardley," he had said. 
*^YouVe muffed the whole business. You 
aren't a match for a woman, and I firmly 
believe that, good as you are when you are 
working with Mr. Tempest behind you, you 
can't do much by yourself." 

And Yardley was beginning to come to the 
same conclusion. 

This conclusion was not diminished when a 
few days later he received a note from Tempest. 

** New Square, Lincoln's Inn. 

"Dear Yardley, 

" From what I hear, you are on the 
direct route to making a rattier complete ass of 

228 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

yourself. As it won't pay you to do this if it 
can be avoided, I think you had better come 
round and see me. 

« Yours f fy, 

"Ashley Tempest." 

Yardley was at first by no means inclined to 
accept the invitation. He had got the idea 
into his mind that the barrister was trying to 
pump him, and he had by this time persuaded 
himself that their respective interests in the 
case were by no means identical. But he was 
very definitely aware it would not pay him to 
quarrel with Ashley Tempest, and the note 
really left him little alternative but to go. At 
the same time he felt a conscious rectitude as 
to his past actions in the matter, and could not 
see how he had been doing anything foolish. 
Consequently he felt that he had better learn 
what the barrister had to teU him, receiving it 
with the caution he had by now persuaded 
himself was necessary. Leaving a reply that 
he would call that evening at 8.30, he duly 
arrived at Tempest's chambers at the appointed 
time. 

"Look here, Yardley," said the barrister, 

" I saw Lady Dangerville after your interview 

with her, and she told me something of your 

229 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

conversation. I think she must have misunder- 
stood you. The whole thing seems so unlike 
you, and so utterly incredible, that you'd better 
tell me exactly what you said to her. She's in 
a flaming temper, and wants to go for you for 
slander. If her tale is right she'll get you a 
smart dose, old man. Now, what's the whole 
story ? " 

" But why should I tell you. Tempest ? You 
are briefed for Meysey and Sorrel, you'll be 
briefed for Lady Dangerville, and I presume 
you'll get the brief again for Mrs. Nevile." 

*^ You can make your mind easy. If Lady 
Dangerville understood you correctly, the Lord 
Almighty can call every blessed Israelite home 
to the promised land, and find 'em and take 'em 
there, before I accept another brief for Mrs. 
Nevile. As to Meysey and Sorrel, from all I 
hear, your tale gets them both oflF; and as for 
Lady Dangerville, you'll have to get it all into 
the depositions somehow, so it's as broad as it's 
long. So you'd better let me have your version 
at once." 

So Yardley told him of his meeting with 
Parkyns and the news of the two marriages, of 
his meeting with Mrs. Nevile, and then of the 
story she had told him, and then of his inter- 
view with Lady Dangerville. 

230 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Yardley had noticed the barrister smiling as 
he proceeded, and when the story came to its 
end, Tempest lay back in his chair and laughed 
till Yardley thought he would never cease. 

" It may be deuced funny to you," said the 
detective, snappishly, " but it strikes me Lady 
Dangerville will find it much the reverse." 

" Half a minute, Yardley. To be perfectly 
frank, I never for one moment believed Mrs. 
Nevile could have spoofed you so beautifully, 
I never credited her with that much gumption 
and imagination, for there isn't one word of 
truth in the whole story. You accused her of 
bigamy, you told her yourself about the two 
marriages. I can't see at the moment what her 
object can have been in telling you such a story 
as she has done, unless it was to pay off a 
grudge against Lady Dangerville. But she 
made up Ihe story she told you on the spur of 
the moment — and a damned clever story it is 
too, because it absolutely fits in everything you 
know. But there isn't a word of truth in it, 
not one word, from beginning to end. She 
isn't the daughter of Dick Sorrel at all. I 
know perfectly well who she is. Her father is 
a most respectable tobacconist down at Lewis- 
ham. She wasn't present at any quarrel 

between Nevile and Meysey, and she certainly 

231 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

never saw Lady Dangerville shoot Captain 
Nevile, for the very simple reason that Mrs. 
Nevile and Lady Dangerville have never in 
their lives set eyes on each other up to now." 

^* But she certainly married the two men — 
there's that much truth in her story." 

" Yardley, don't forget that item comes from 
you and Parkyns, not from Mrs. Nevile, and, 
as a matter of fact, that's quite as wrong as all 
the rest. The woman Meysey married is a 
totally different person. I know her quite well, 
and it's quite on the cards she will be called 
as a witness at the trial of Sorrel. Parkyns just 
makes one mistake, and you swallow it ready 
made, and now you see what comes of it. He 
builds up a theory which you take as proved 
gospel. Then you try to bluff Mrs. Nevile, 
and instead of doing it you catch a Tartar, and 
she spoofs you all ends up. I'd never have 
believed she could string you up on such a 
line. She must be a jolly clever woman." 

"Do you mean, then. Tempest, that the 
while thing is pure rubbish ? " 

" Absolutely, from beginning to end. You 

can wipe it off the slate as completely as if you 

had never heard a word of it. Of course you 

needn't believe me unless you like, and you 

can go on on your own lines ; but you can take 

232 



^ 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

my word the whole story is pure bunkum. But 
you haven't covered your tracks, Yardley, and 
you and Mrs. Nevile have invented a slander 
against the chastity of a woman. Now, you 
know what that means, and I've got a message 
for you from Lady Dangerville. She says she 
quite recognizes that, as regards the repetition of 
the slander, you have acted in good faith, and 
she promises to take no steps against you on 
one condition, and that is that you arrange a 
meeting between herself and Mrs. Nevile." 

" I would if I could, Tempest, but the truth 
is Mrs Nevile has disappeared." 

" Ah, I guessed that ; so you must have 
gone to Lady Dangerville to try to bluff the 
story out of her as you had lost the other. Of 
course, you detectives have necessarily a code 
of morality all your own, but you know, 
Yardley, I hardly think it was quite * cricket.* 
Still, it's up against your conscience, not mine. 
Her offer stands. If you can arrange that 
interview you'll hear no more of it. But 
between the two of us, you had better take 
my tip and arrange it pretty quickly. An out- 
raged woman is a nasty enemy, and, as you 
know, Lady Dangerville is by way of being 
a rather clever woman, and that makes a 
dangerous combination." 

233 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Yardley noticed that the barrister dismissed 
him rather more curtly than usual. The 
detective knew perfectly well that a number of 
his most brilliant successes were due to Ashley 
Tempest's clever application of undigestible 
facts which he himself had been baffled to make 
the proper use of. He was also well aware 
that, if Mrs. Nevile's story were not correct, he 
himself by his repetition of it was not in an 
enviable position. For though he knew Lady 
Dangerville had little evidence of any imputa- 
tion by himself against her chastity, the con- 
templated issue of a warrant which she could 
easily prove would, in good hands, be quite 
sufficient corroboration of her own story to 
turn the scales with a jury ; consequently he 
spared no efforts to get into touch with Mrs. 
Nevile again. 

It was by sheer accident that this happened. 
Hurrying across the platform at Charing Cross 
railway station, and brushing his way through 
the jostling crowd which the imminent depar- 
ture of the boat-train had collected, his atten- 
tion was attracted by a familiar voice engaged 
in vehemently upbraiding a porter for some act 
of particularly egregious stupidity. Yardley 
recognized the voice at once, and, turning 
round, found himself face to face with Mrs, 

234 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Nevile. From her luggage it was evident she 
was bound by that train for the Continent, and, 
glancing at the clock, Yardley saw he had only 
some three or four minutes left to him in which 
to decide and act. A cold sweat broke over 
him as he realized how nearly he had missed 
the lady. 

Without a moment's delay, he touched her 
on the arm. She turned with a start. 

" Mrs. Nevile," he said quietly, " you cannot 
go by that train.'* 

*' I can and shall. Leave me alone at once." 

Yardley knew the risk he was running, but 
he felt he had no alternative. 

" If you attempt to go by this train, I shall 
give you in charge at once. If you will come 
with me quietly, we will put that luggage in the 
cloak-room. You will not be arrested at present, 
but I want an explanation, and so does some- 
body else." 

Wise in her generation, she made no further 
objection, but after her baggage had been 
attended to, she followed Yardley to a cab. 
The detective gave her no hint of their desti- 
nation, though he was in a fever of anxiety as 
to whether his errand might not, after all, turn 
out to be without result, for he had no know- 
ledge that he would be sufficiently fortunate to 

235 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

catch Lady Dangerville at home and alone. 
Luck, however, favoured him. They were 
shown upstairs into the Countess' boudoir, 
where they found her reading. 

"Lady Dangerville," said Yardley, *'you 
wished to meet Mrs. Nevile." 

" I did," she answered, as she rose from her 
seat. 

It was quite evident to Yardley, from the 
way the two women looked each other up and 
down, and from the absence of any trace or 
sign of recognition, that they had never 
previously met. 

" Yes ; I was very anxious indeed to see 
her," repeated the Countess, slowly, as she 
scrutinized her visitor. 

" I can assure you the desire wasn't mutual, 
and that I haven't come here by my own wish," 
answered the other. 

" Ah, well, that may be so, but you are here 
now." 

And she paused for a little, and then 
continued — 

" Let me see, what was the story ? Oh yes ; 

first, you are the daughter of Mr. Sorrel, the 

bookmaker, and the wife of Mr. Meysey and 

of Captain Nevile, and then you had arranged 

to scratch the mare Finality, and then you and 

236 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I and Mr. Meysey and Captain Nevile all met 
in Warwick Gardens, and you and I quarrelled 
on account of Captain Nevile being the father 
of my child, and I fired at you and missed you, 
but hit and killed my cousin ; whereas there 
isn't a word of truth in the whole story. Now, 
Mrs. Nevile, I want an explanation ; and unless 
I have a true one very promptly, I propose to 
make things exceedingly disagreeable for you. 
What have you to say ? " 

*' Say, indeed I What have you to say about 
taking my husband away from me ? That's 
what I want to know." 

"In the first place, I didn't know he was 
married, and in the next^ I didn't take him 
away ; so your questions are soon answered. 
Now, then, suppose you answer mine. What 
induced you to invent such a preposterous 
story as the one you have been circulating ? 
Why did you do it ? " 

" Because Mr. Yardley was such a silly fool. 
He got hold of some tale that I had committed 
bigamy, and I thought if he would swallow that 
he would swallow anything. But I hadn't any 
grudge against him. It was Inspector Parkyns 
I wanted to pay out. He can tell you the true 
history of the thing fast enough, when you 
remind him that Stella de Vere hasn't forgiven 

237 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

him yet. The beast got me six months for 
* receiving' once, and he knew all the time 
I was quite innocent ; but he thought if he 
prosecuted me, the man he wanted to catch, 
but wasn't clever enough to, would give himself 
up to get me off. And if the idiot had only 
thought, he would have known that I was doing 
that six months at the very date he said I was 
being married to Mr. Meysey, whoever he may 
be. I meant them to prosecute you, and they 
would have put me up as a witness, and as 
soon as I was sworn Fd have told the whole 
truth ; and then wouldn't Mr. Inspector Parkyns 
have just looked pretty silly I " 

" But why did you bring me into it ? " said 
Lady Dangerville. " Wouldn't somebody else 
have done just as well ? " 

" Oh, quite ; only I had to make up the story 
as I went along, and I'd no time to think. I 
just said the first names that came into my 
head, and you seemed to fit in so beautifully. 
But I should have stuck to that tale about your 
child — that's true enough ; " and the woman 
sneered. 

*' It is not true I it's an abominable lie." 

*' Oh I is it ? I knew Morton Nevile and 
his ways fairly well, and I've read one of your 
letters to him.' 

23S 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

And then the woman's temper flamed out 
into white, hot rage, as, losing all control of 
herself, she turned on the Countess. 

"You call yourself a lady, I suppose. I 
wonder you let me pollute your precious room 
by being in it. Oh yes, sneer away. Fm not 
fit to touch, not fit to speak to, am I ? But 
you weren't above seducing my husband away 
from me. Every day he was here — stayed here 
weeks at a time — called himself your cousin, 
never told you, so you say, that he was married 
to me ; and why ? Shall I tell you ? Because 
he knew if he told you, you would give him 
up. Nice goings on for you, a respectable 
married woman. Bah I we're all alike, every 
one of us. There's nothing to choose between 
you and me, except this. Lady Dangerville, 
just this — that when I had a husband, I stuck to 
him and played straight ; and as soon as you'd 
got a husband of your own, you must needs 
want somebody else's husband as well. And 
yet you call yourself respectable." 

In a torrent of vituperation, the angry woman 
poured out the pent-up grievance of many 
months which she had cherished against Lady 
Dangerville. 

The latter stood listening, apparently un- 
moved. 

239 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Have you one atom of evidence, Mrs. 
Nevile, by which you can establish a single one 
of your accusations or statements against me ? " 
at last she asked in a level voice. 

" Yes ; your letter to my husband.** 

" What letter ? I have written a good many 
to him." 

" The one that came a month or two before 
he died." 

" Have you got it ? " 

" No, I haven't ; Fve lost it." 

** Can you remember it ? If so, will you tell 
me what it was about ? " 

The woman repeated the terms of the letter 
as well as she could remember them. 

" Oh, that one ! and did not your husband 

tell you to what that letter referred ? Mrs. 

Nevile, will you listen to me now for a few 

minutes ? Lord Dangerville and I both thought 

Captain Nevile was a bachelor. I confess I liked 

him at first — he was a cousin of mine, and as so 

much of Lord Dangerville's time was taken up 

with politics, I was glad to have somebody to 

go about with. Captain Nevile always seemed 

glad to come. But I knew him on those terms 

long before he could have married you. But 

then he got very hard up — he was always very 

extravagant — and my husband got quite tired 

240 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

of lending him money, and there was some 

unpleasantness about that ; so that for the last 

eighteen months I have seen very little indeed 

of your husband. He has never in that period 

stayed in our house, and if he led you to believe 

the contrary it has been quite untrue. Now, 

my child was born in February, and from May 

to August of last year I wscs staying in Gibraltar 

or yachting ; partly on a visit to my brother 

and his wife, who are with his regiment at 

Gibraltar ; partly trying to recruit my health. 

I was only in England for a few days in June. 

Now, I have taken the trouble to find out what 

were your husband's movements in that period. 

I find he was not away from his regiment at all, 

except for about a fortnight when he was in 

Ireland, as you know. The few days I was in 

England, by good luck, as it now proves, were 

during that particular fortnight. If you doubt 

what I say, I have no reason to suppose your 

friend, Mr. Yardley, will have any greater 

trouble in tracing my movements than I had 

in tracing your husband's.- It will not be 

difficult to find my name in the passenger lists 

in the boats to Gibraltar in May and June, or 

back from Cairo in June, or Las Palmas in 

August ; after which I went straight on to 

Scotland. Consequently there can be no doubt 

241 Q 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

whatever to any reasonable person that Captain 
Nevile cannot possibly be the father of my 
child# Now, I tell you this, not because you 
have the slightest ground for making any 
imputation at all, and not that you have any 
right to demand an explanation of my move- 
ments, but simply because it seems to me your 
husband, who was my cousin, did not treat you 
well, and because I sympathize very much with 
you in all you have had to go through ; and 
I know an angry woman with a grievance is 
not very careful what she says. You can make 
what inquiries you like to satisfy yourself, but 
I tell you plainly that now you know what is 
the truth, if I ever hear one word about any 
further repetition of the story, either that I shot 
Captain Nevile, or that he was the father of my 
child, or that any improper relations ever existed 
between us, I shall at once take public steps, 
not only to justify myself and my character, 
but to visit upon you the full penalties of 
making the accusations. And before you go I 
require you to put into writing the story you 
told Mr. Yardley, and to add your own 
voluntary admission that there is not a word 
of truth in it. I have telephoned for my 
solicitor, and he will be here before the state- 
ment will be ready, and I shall leave him to 

243 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

decide whether the retraction balances the accu- 
sation you have made." 

A few moments later the solicitor was 
shown in, and after Lady Dangerville had 
explained the situation to him^ she left the 
room* 



243 



Chapter XVIII 



AS Yardley followed Mrs. Nevile down 
the stairs of Cavander House, when 
everything there had been brought 
to its conclusion, he felt about as 
small as he could recollect ever feeling in the 
whole course of his life. He could cheerfully 
have kicked himself for having swallowed so 
credulously the ready-made solution with which 
Inspector Parkyns and Mrs. Nevile had pro- 
vided him. He drove Mrs. Nevile to his own 
offices and left her there in charge of his 
assistant, Craven, whilst he went to Scotland 
Yard. He looked forward with a kind of 
vicious delight to passing on to the inspector 
some of the contemptuous treatment which he 
himself had undergone, and he anticipated the 
pleasure of drawing out the inspector, and 
finally " dishing " with ridicule the propositions 
he himself, such a short while ago, had been 
only too ready to swallow. 

"Any fresh discoveries about the Nevile 
case ? ** he asked, as he seated himself in the 
inspector's office. 

" Well — perhaps," said the officer ; " but I'm 

i44 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

rather full up to-day. That New Cross 
murder " 

" What are the new discoveries ? " 

** Really, Yardley, you can't expect me to 
calmly trot out everything I find out just for 
you to put your hands in and at once spoil the 
show for me." 

" Oh, keep 'em to yourself, by all means. I 
simply came in to tell you I've got hold of 
that woman again. She's at my oflSce now. 
If you want her, come along and fetch her, and 
take the responsibility off my hands ; I've had 
quite enough of your beastly clues. I've no 
further use for her." 

"You might be rather more civil, Mr. 
Yardley, I think, when I do everything I can 
to help you. It's precious little help you ever 
give us." 

"Well, on my soul, there isn't any very 
great value in your own discoveries. Ever 
hear of Stella de Vere, Parkyns ? " 

" Yes ; that's what you say the theatrical 
name of Mrs. Nevile used to be." 

" Ever heard of her before ? *' 

" No — oh, wait a bit. Let me think," said 
the inspector. 

" Oh, I'll save you the trouble of doing that. 
Didn't you prosecute her for receiving ? she 

245 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

, ^— — — ^ 

says you did, and that she was innocent, and 
you knew it, but prosecuted her on the chance 
of getting hold, through her, of the chap you 
really wanted." 

*' Hardly that ; but she was living with the 
man I wanted, and the stolen jewels were found 
in her possession ; she was wearing them at the 
Gardenia when she was arrested, and I've very 
little doubt she knew where they came from. 
Still, if we could have got the man, we 
shouldn't have troubled about her, I don't 
suppose." 

"Well, she'd remembered it all, if you'd 
forgotten. She says she did six months for it." 

« That's quite right." 

" Well, that six months covers the date of 
Meysey's marriage, so obviously Mrs. Nevile 
and Mrs. Meysey are two different women, so 
away goes the whole of your precious story. 
Wish I'd never heard it." 

" But she admitted it, and told you how it 
all happened." 

" I know ; but the whole tale is one almighty 

damn big lie. She owns up now she invented 

every bit of the story, so that she could make 

you look silly, and precious silly you would 

have looked if we'd gone into court with it." 

" How did you find all this out ? " 

246 . 



The JD anger ville Inheritance 

" Tempest told me it was a spoof tale first. 
He says he knows the real Mrs. Meysey, and 
then Lady Dangerville threatened me with an 
action for slander, unless I arranged an inter- 
view for her with Mrs. Nevile ; so as soon as 
I got hold of the woman I took her round to 
Cavander House, and then out it all came. 
She's had you on the biggest line you can wish 
for for the rest of your natural life." 

" Quite so ; don't trouble about including 
yourself, my friend." 

" Oh, me as well ; I don't mind. Only, if 
you hadn't got had over the marriage, I 
shouldn't have told her, and she wouldn't have 
invented the tale. Well, do you want her? 
or shall I let her go ? It's your own game, as 
you were kind enough to remind me the last 
time we met." 

" How did you find her ? " 

Yardley told him she was just leaving 
Charing Cross by the boat-train, when he 
dropped on her by accident. 

" Just bolting abroad, was she ? Well, there's 
no extradition treaty that covers witnesses yet, 
and we want her evidence. We can't possibly 
let her go." 

** How can you stop her ? " 

"We must arrest her for something. I 

247 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

think it will have to be as an accessory to the 
murder. Then she won't get bail." 

"Well, come along at once, if you want 
her." 

" I'll have to get a warrant first on a sworn 
affidavit ; and a sworn affidavit which won't 
mean perjury when it all becomes exposed 
wants careful wording, and a little thinking 
about. How long can you keep her at your 
office ? " 

" Well, I left her happy with Craven, having 
tea, and I don't mind standing her dinner, 
though I expect she'll want a good one. Come 
along to the Savoy before eight o'clock. I 
think I can manage her till then, and what with 
tea and a swagger dinner at the Savoy, she'll 
never get any jury to believe in physical 
detention." 

Mrs. Nevile's remarks that night, when she 

saw how she had been tricked by the two men, 

and when the warrant for her arrest had been 

shown to her, will hardly bear repetition. 

Yardley shuddered as he thought how she was 

being deceived, but he could see no alternative. 

In any case her evidence was essential, and he 

could think of no other way in which her 

presence could be assured, and at any moment 

something might turn up to make her attendance 

248 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



at the trials of Meysey and Sorrel absolutely 
vital to a conviction. 

"Yardley," said the inspector, as the two 
walked away from Bow Street Police Station, 
" I can understand you felt very riled at being 
taken in, and there is nothing to be gained by 
you and me working at cross purposes. Come 
back to my office, and I'll show you something 
that turned up yesterday. 

"As Mrs. Nevile's tale is untrue, this be- 
comes vastly more important," said Parky ns, 
as a few minutes later he took from his desk a 
letter, which he handed to Yardley to read. 
" There's no spoof about that.'* 

The letter was short. 

^S.S.fralmrCastU, 
" At Madeira. 

" Sir, 

"I shall be home almost immedi- 
ately. There is a matter upon which I require 
an explanation from you, and intend to have 
one, and failing a sufficient one, satisfaction in 
the usual way. I suggest you should meet me 
at Boulogne for the purpose ; but if you decline 
to do so, I shall take steps when I return to 
obtain such satisfaction as can be possible in 
England. If you have any idea of honour 

remaining, you will help me to avoid what may 

249 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

otherwise prove a very painful scandal to 
another person. Kindly write to the office 
of the company what you propose. 

** Yours faithfully, 

«W. Meysey/' 

" Then it's really Meysey after all ? " 

" Looks like it, doesn't it ? " said Parkyns. 

" I wonder how Tempest will get over this." 

** I doubt if he can. There's your motive, 
there's your premeditation ; you've got his cuff- 
link to show he went there, and you've got 
your dead man to show that murder was com- 
mitted. I don't know what else is wanted. 
We'll just chuck everything extraneous, and go 
for him on that." 

"I wonder what it was he wanted an ex- 
planation about ? " 

" So do I ; but Meysey won't shout, and 
Nevile's dead. There's only one other person 
who's likely to know ? " 

« Who's that ? " 

**The woman, whoever she is. Don't you 
see how beautifully it fits Mrs. Nevile ? Yardley, 
you take my word, the story she told you is 
perfectly true up to the point at which she 
brings in Lady Dangerville. Mrs. Nevile may 
have been friends with Meysey without having 

250 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

married him. Now, take it her story is true 
up to the point where she says Meysey and 
Nevile had a row, as no doubt they did. Then 
she sees if she tells you any more she puts 
Meysey 's neck in jeopardy, so she brings in 
Lady Dangerville, against whom she has got a 
grudge, and from that point her story is a lie. 
Think it over now. What she said about the 
revolver on the table, and her quarrel with Lady 
Dangerville doesn't sound particularly probable. 
Hang it all, man, you've seen the lady. Is 
it likely, now ? — is she the sort of woman to 
go and have a vulgar row in a man's lodgings 
with that man's wife ? Why on earth should 
she go there at all ? Besides, women aren't 
fond of firearms. The letter and the links are 
enough to hang him." 

" How did you get the letter ? " 

" It was addressed to his club. They always 
keep them there a bit before posting them on, 
unless they have special instructions ; and, as 
Nevile was murdered, the letter was sent on 
here. It had apparently been overlooked for 
a bit," 



251 



Chapter XIX 



jA ND so Scodand Yard rested content, 
/% and set itself to await the day of 

/ — % the trial of William Meysey, who 
-^ -^" stood indicted for the murder of 
Captain Nevile. 

But it needed only a very few days to pass 
before Inspector Parkyns felt himself con- 
foundedly worried and plagued with doubts. 
The knowledge came home to him very forcibly 
in the watches of the night that Mr. Ashley 
Tempest was not a complaisant opponent, and 
that he was very unlikely to miss the oppor- 
tunity of commenting on the important, but 
quite unexplained, point that the Crown sug- 
gested no elucidation whatever of the dispute 
between Meysey and Nevile. Of the fact that 
there was some matter of acute disagreement 
the letter was ample evidence, but the Inspector 
knew only too well that whilst this point lacked 
a plausible explanation, the case for the prosecu- 
tion was far from being that nicely rounded off 
presentment which he felt was desirable. Whilst 
the thing was left a mystery, anything might 
turn up. Scotland Yard is not bloodthirsty, 

but it has a very human and natural objection 

252 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

to making a fool of itself by putting a man on 
his trial for a crime of which the proof of his 
guilt breaks down by reason of things which 
might have been foreseen. The more the 
Inspector thought of the situation the less he 
liked it, and finally in desperation he went 
round to the Adelphi to talk the matter over 
again with Dennis Yardley. 

"Yardley," he said, "it's no good leaving 
that Nevile murder where it is. It isn't 
pleasant to have yourself explained by Mr. 
Ashley Tempest in cross-examination, when 
you are not quite sure of your own ground, 
and I am not going to give him the chance. 
Have you ever had that inestimable privilege, 
Yardley ? " 

" No, I've never been against him before." 

" Well, I have, and I don't like it. Besides, 
the question ought not to absolutely baffle us 
as it has done. There is one thing very certain 
from that letter of Meysey's. There's a woman 
in it somewhere. Now, who is she ? And why 
did these two men quarrel about her ? " 

" Oh ! ask me another." 

*^ You answer that one, my friend, and we 
needn't bother about other questions. Now, 
Meysey was married and Nevile was married, 
and if Tempest is right they couldn't have 

2S3 



The Dangervf^lle Inheritance 

quarrelled about each other's wives, and young 
married men, like Meysey, don't generally 
bother about other women. So I can't see 
where a second or third woman can come in for 
the two of them to bother about ; and I'm 
coming back to my belief that, bigamy or no 
bigamy, Mrs. Nevile is the connecting link 
between the two men." 

"Steady a bit. It never troubled Nevile 
that he was married. Is it possible that he got 
hold of Meysey's wife ? Had Meysey any 
sisters ? " 

" None ; and no cousins either." 

"Well, Parkyns, then it comes round to 
this — that the only female relative Meysey 
possessed was his wife. Isn't it funny how we 
are driven back to her, no matter what trail we 
follow ? " 

" Then who was she, Yardley ? " 

"Elizabeth Smith — so you say. But 
Tempest says there are two ladies of that 



name." 



" Are you sure he isn't trying to spoof you 
himself. Suppose that the whole of the story 
he told you was merely a red herring." 

"Well, Parkyns, I grant you there is 
precious little Tempest won't do for the sake 
of a client. You go and talk to him yourself, 

254 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and see if you can get anything definite about 
the lady. It's too utterly absurd that she 
remains simply a name to both of us." 

" It is absurd, Yardley. I quite admit it. 
Let's go and get photographs of the two 
registers and compare the signatures. That 
ought to help one a bit. I am not any too 
certain that Mrs. Nevile was ever on the stage 
as Stella de Vere, or that she ^ did time.' Frankly, 
I don't recognize her." 

The signatures were available during the 
course of the next day, and together they went 
to a well-known hand-writing expert, carrying 
the photographs with them. 

As he pointed out, the two signatures seemed 
at first sight to be utterly different, but a 
closer scrutiny revealed a number of points of 
resemblance. At the same time, there was 
nothing whatever to indicate that either signa- 
ture was disguised. 

** You know," said the expert, " it's just one 
of those cases it's a rank impossibility to dog- 
matize about. I could give evidence either 
way, pointing out the similarities on the one 
hand and the differences on the other. What 
is it you want to prove ? " 

" Suppose you give us your candid opinion 
first," said Parky ns. 



The Dangerville Inheritance 



^* Well, that's soon done. I haven't formed 
any real opinion yet." 

" What do you think on the face of it ? " 

"As I told you, that wants some thinking 
about. There's almost as much on the one 
side as the other. At present I should say the 
likelihood is that the two signatures were not 
made by the same person. Can you give me 
any other undoubted examples of the hand- 
writing of either ? " 

" Yes, you can have reams by the one." 

"Which?" 

" The Nevile wife." 

" I should like to see it. To sum it all up, 
the difficulty to me is this. The two hand- 
writings are the same, i.e. based on the same 
style of model, but the one appears a plebeian 
uneducated version of the other. Now what 
cuts at the whole argument of identity is, that 
the educated version is the earlier in date. 
Had it been the other way round I should 
hardly have hesitated. A hand-writing never 
deteriorates in that way. What do you want 
me to prove ? " 

" That's a straight question. But if I were 

you," said the Inspector, " I'd try to find as 

many points of resemblance as possible." 

"Don't you think you had better talk 

256 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

frankly," said the expert, as Parkyns picked up 
his hat preparatory to leaving. 

" What do you mean ? " 

" What's your evidence for and against the 
identity apart from the handwriting ? " 

" Well, I'm in a fix, and I came for your 
opinion, given blind, intending if it were strong 
to work on that assumption. But as evidently 
the thing is not decided enough for a strong 
opinion, you may as well know the facts. The 
evidence for the identity rests solely on the 
identity of name, and on the fact that the two 
husbands quarrelled, and the one challenged 
the other to fight a duel, that other a week or 
two later being found murdered ; in which case 
the identity of the woman is a sufficient motive 
for the quarrel and the murder. The evidence 
against is simply that we are told by the other 
side that both women are known, and that the 
one we are in contact with says she was * doing * 
six months under another name when the first 
marriage took place. That is, at any rate, a 
likely story." 

" The probabilities, then, seem to point to 
two women." 

" Yes, I'm afraid they do," admitted Parkyns. 

" Well, there is nothing — you can take my 

word for it — sufficiently marked in the way of 

257 R 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

identity between the two handwritings to throw 
any strong suspicion to the contrary. They 
have a certain resemblance, undoubtedly, but 
then so has the handwriting of crowds of 
people." 

The two detectives took their leave. 

*^ Parkyns,'* said Yardley, " how much will a 
grateful country pay that idiot for sitting on 
the hedge ? " 

" Oh, he won't get paid for that. You see 
he has had no formd instructions. It pays 
him to keep in with us, and with me ; he knows 
it, and he knows I know he knows it. Still, 
handwriting experts don't amount to much. 
Come along to the Law Courts now, and let's 
see if we can get hold of Tempest." 

Striding down the corridor, on the King's 
Bench side, came Tempest, hurrying from one 
court to another in the effort to keep two cases 
going together. 

" Can you spare us a couple of minutes ? '* 
asked the inspector. 

" Can't till lunch-time, unless one of these 
cases falls through. Be about here at half-past 
one, and I'll see what I can do." 

Later, at the luncheon interval. Tempest was 

again buttonholed by the two detectives. 

« WeU, what is it ? " he asked. « It isn't 

258 



The D anger ville Inheritance 

often you and I arc on the same side, In- 
spector," 

" No, Mr. Tempest, it isn't, and we are not 
there now." 

The barrister laughed. ** Ah, well ; one 
never knfows one's luck. Out with your 
trouble." 

"Mr. Tempest, we want to see Mrs. 
Meysey." 

" Why ? You'll see her all in good time if 
she decides to give evidence." 

"Yes, but I want to ask her some ques- 
tions." 

" I don't think I'm justified in helping you. 
You may really take my word that Mrs. Nevile 
and Meysey's wife are two different women, if 
that's what you are driving at." 

" Mr. Tempest, was Elizabeth Smith the real 
name of Mrs. Meysey ? " asked the inspector. 

The barrister's eyelid had quivered ever so 
slightly, and the detective noticed it, and 
noticed the question was ignored, although 
Tempest continued his remarks in the same 
even voice. 

"I tell you definitely, I will give you my 
personal assurance, which you can quote to my 
face in court if you like, that I have seen and 
spoken with Nevile's wife and with Meysey's 

259 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

wife, and they don't even resemble each 
other." 

The inspector put his question again — 

" Mr. Tempest, had Mrs. Meysey any real 
right to the names of Elizabeth Smith ? " 

" Certainly," he answered ; " as much right 
as you and I have to our names. Now, really, 
I must run off;" and he hurried out through 
the Carey Street entrance to snatch a hasty 
lunch in Common Room. 

The inspector sat down on one of the seats 
in the corridor and wrote down the two ques- 
tions in his notebook, with their answers. He 
showed the open page to his companion. 

"Now, are those the exact words I used, 
rardley ? " 

"Yes — ^as far as I remember. What's the 
joke ? " 

" Well, Yardley, I may be a fool — dare say 
I am — but I'm hanged if I see what the differ- 
ence is between the two questions, and why 
Mr. Tempest wouldn't answer the first one, 
which plainly enough he wouldn't, whilst he 
answered the second without hesitation. Can 
you see where is the difference ? " 

"No, I'm shot if I do. I should say it 

simply was that the beggar didn't like being 

interrupted when he was holding forth." 

260 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" You know him better than I do, Yardley ; 
can we trust him ? Have you ever known 
him tell a deliberate lie ? " 

" Not out of court." 

The other laughed. " How about inside ? " 

" Oh, he says a barrister is only the mouth- 
piece of the solicitors who instruct him there. 
He says that there wouldn't ever be a lawsuit 
if somebody didn't commit perjury, and you 
never know who is doing it till the jury give 
their verdict, and he says it's by no means 
certain then." 

The two detectives left the Law Courts by 
the Strand entrance. 

" Parkyns, what are the signs of mental 
paralysis ? " 

" Don't know for certain, but whatever they 
are I'm sure I must have caught the microbe 
of it from this infernal case." 

" So have I. Let's go and drown the 
wretched animals." 

And they went. 

"It seems to me," said the inspector, 
later, "that we shall do no good till we've 
seen Mrs. Meysey. I'm going up to Hollo- 
way to-morrow, to see if she's having any 
interviews with her husband. Will you 



ccme f " 



261 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Why on earth didn't you think of that 
before ? '' 

" It's funny, I dare say, but I didn't. Why 
didn't you ? " 

Together the following day they drove to 
the prison, and were soon closeted with the 
governor, to whom they explained what they 
wanted to know. 

" I wonder if it's a coincidence, gentlemen ? 
She is in the prison at the present moment 
It's her first visit. Come with me." 

He led them through passage after passage, but 
in a few minutes they learnt from the warders 
on duty that the interview between Meysey and 
his wife had terminated a few moments earlier. 
Hurrying to the entrance of the prison, they 
were just in time to see a lady dressed in a 
dark blue serge tailor-made costume, heavily 
veiled, get into a hansom. As the cab moved 
off, Parkyns hailed it. " Stop !" he shouted. 
He saw the trap-door open, and almost in the 
same motion the driver gave his horse a swing- 
ing cut with the lash, and it bounded away 
down the Camden Road. Parkyns, who was 
running to intercept it, had his hands nearly 
on it, and, once that was accomplished, he knew 
nothing on earth would have made him re- 
linquish his hold, but he would have taken an 

262 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

oath that it was by no accident that the lash of 
the whip as it swung back came with a stinging 
cut right across his eyes, the pain momentarily 
blinding him. In despair he relinquished the 
chase, and looked round for another cab. 

" Parkyns 1 " yelled Yardley, " here we are ; " 
and a tram came jingling along. ** Jump on, 

man." 

Both boarded it, and the inspector immedi- 
ately passed through to the driver's seat. 

" Look here, my man," he said, " here's half 
a sovereign for you if you will keep that cab 
in view down to the Britannia. Don't stop 
for anybody. Fm from Scotland Yard." 

" What is it, guv'nor ? Somebody doing a 
guy from Hollo way ? " 

" No, it's a deal more important than that." 

" Well, here goes, then. Lord, love a duck ! 
but you'll have to see my licence isn't endorsed 
for furious driving." 

" Oh, you needn't bother about that. Fire 
away. Short of killing anybody, I'll see you 
through." 

The cab had some distance start by the time 

they reached the top of the hill, and was 

galloping hard down the Camden Road, but 

the driver, leaving the tram to run free down 

the hill, lashed his horses into a wild gallop, 

263 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and with all the passengers joining in the sport 
and yelling like firemen on an engine for a clear 
road, the tram had nearly caught the cab by the 
time the North London Railway Station was 
reached. A horrified scream rose above the 
noise, and Parkyns turned his head for a 
moment. Another tram was swinging along 
Great College Street, and a crash seemed in- 
evitable. By a marvel of clever driving, the 
cab was whisked between the noses of the four 
tram horses a second before they all fell into a 
confused heap, and the two tram cars met in 
collision. There was a splintering of wood and 
glass as the crash came, and the one driver was 
thrown heavily on to the road. 

Barely waiting to satisfy themselves that no 
one was seriously injured, Parkyns and Yardley 
ran to the cab stand. The horse in the only 
cab upon the rank was calmly feeding from its 
nosebag. The driver was in the adjoining 
public-house, and came out surly and grumbling 
in response to the indignant shouts of the 
detectives. In spite of their frantic protests, 
the driver leisurely and methodically proceeded 
to unfasten the nosebag. Wild with annoyance, 
Yardley dashed to the animal's head and threw 
the nosebag in the road, whilst Parkyns, tumbling 

at once to his intention, climbed to the box and 

264 



The D anger ville Inheritance 

whipped up the horse as Yardley sprang into 
the cab. The driver followed down the road 
yelling at them to stop. The cry was taken up 
on all sides, and by the time they reached the 
Britannia, a policeman was in the roadway 
beckoning them to stop. Yardley foresaw this, 
and had a card ready. They scarcely slowed 
down as he tossed his card out, and Parkyns 
leant from the box and rapidly explained matters. 
Luckily he was recognized, and the cab tore oiF 
up Park Street after the other, now disappearing 
round the corner. One searching glance down 
Albany Street as they passed across it showed 
the detective that there was no hansom in view, 
and he drove on into Regent's Park. But 
which way should he turn ? Away down the 
road he saw a cab galloping in the direction 
of Portland Place, and he flogged his horse 
after it. 

** Parkyns," said Yardley, through the trap- 
door, " I suppose you are sure we're right ? " 

" Yeis ; we are on the track of Mrs. Meysey 
right enough, my friend ; " and he flogged his 
horse the harder as Yardley went on. 

" She wouldn't have tipped her cabby to race 

us like this, certainly, if she hadn't wanted to 

keep out of our way. So depend upon it, we 

shall find out something if we can catch her up." 

265 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"But how did she find out we were after 
her, Parkyns ? ** 

"She looked round when I shouted. Fm 
sorry now that I did. Must have recognized 
us." 

"But, man, Mrs. Meysey doesn't know us. 
She's never seen us." 

" Probably in court when he was remanded." 
A few moments later the inspector added, 
*^That other horse seems nearly done, and we 
are gaining on them now. I can flog a bit 
more out of this wretched animal, though I 
expect we'll be fined for cruelty. I saw one of 
the inspectors take the number of the cab." 

" Oh, damn 'em, they always interfere when 
they aren't wanted." 

The leading cab turned down Portland Place, 
and as the detectives drew level, pulled up at 
the curb. Yardley sprang down. The cab 
they had been chasing was empty. 

For a moment Yardley stood speechless upon 
the pavement, and then he let out a volley of 
curses at the driver. The latter waited, and as 
the detective paused for breath, coolly asked — 

" Feel any better ? " 

But Parkyns at once intervened. 

" Where's your fare ? " 

" What — the money ? Why, in my trouser 

266 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

pockets at present. Did you think Td eat 
it ? " 

" Where's the lady you were driving ? " 

"What lady?"' 

" The one you picked up at Holloway ? *' 

" Oh, that young person 1 I dropped 'er 
long ago." 

" Then why the devil did you go on galloping 
down the Park, trying to get away ? " 

The cabby sniiFed, then smiled as he slowly 
ejaculated — 

" 'Orse ran away. Couldn't 'old her in." 

" So you were flogging the mare to make her 
stop, were you. I've got your number, and 
you'll hear a good deal more of this presently." 

" Wot d'you mean ? " 

*^ You'll soon find out, my friend, when you 
are summoned for obstructing the police in the 
execution of their duty." 

"Who's the blooming p'leece in this 'ere 
litde lot ? " 

" I am." 

" Well, who the hell's been obstructing you ? 

'Strewth, I 'aven't I've been doing all I knew 

to get out of your way. Do you want the whole 

of the view as well as the road when you go out 

driving ? " 

" None of your impudence, if you please. 

267 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Now, then, I want to know where you put 
down that lady ? " 

** By the York and Albany. Didn't you see 
her ? " 

"The only girl I saw there was one in a 
nurse's cloak." 

" That was 'er. She found it in my cab, and 
bought it ofF me. Left there by a previous 
fare." 

" Then I'll have you prosecuted for theft." 

"You can't — unless somebody lays an in- 
formation." 

" How much were you paid for the cloak ? " 

"Well, suppose we say the cloak was 
borrowed ? " 

" What fare were you paid ? " 

" Two quid, guv'nor ; and she's got my 
address, and said she'd send me a fiver if you 
didn't catch her." 

"Which way did she go? " 

" Yes ; and then I suppose you think you'll 
go and meet her, and then how about my 
fiver ? " 

" If you don't answer, I promise you I'll 
make it hot for you." 

"Oh, you go and smother yourself, Mr. 

P'leeceman, if you are one. Where's 

your warrant? Haven't got one, have you? 

363 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Well, then, you don't get any information out 
of me till you get me up before the beak, and 
that'll take a bit of doing, that will. I know a 
thing or two worth the knowing in my trade. 
Badge ? Oh yes ! here it is." 

And he held it out as the inspector copied 
down the number. 

"Look here," said Yardley. "About that 
fiver now. You may get it or you may not. 
Here's a couple of pounds. Now, which way 
did she go ? " 

" Now we're getting at it. She went down 
Park viUage." 

The cabby mounted his box, chucked the 
reins, and the lathered, weary mare moved 
slowly oflF, her driver happy in the knowledge 
that he was perfectly safe from any identification. 
A figure three is not unlike a figure eight. A 
little black paint carefully applied had long ago 
effected this little alteration on the plate at the 
back of the cab. It was a device the cabby had 
often found useful. That the driver of another 
cab had frequently been fined for minor oflFences 
was regrettable, but that was, of course, con- 
sidered no reason why the little trick should be 
abandoned. The badge dangling from his 
button-hole belonged to a man then deceased, 

and had been purchased for a trifle from the 

269 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

widow. He found it answered every require- 
ment of the moment when discussing the 
question of distance and payment with an irate 
fare, and was equally useful when interviewing 
the police in the streets. He by no means 
considered it incumbent on him on every 
occasion to produce his proper badge, carried 
securely out of the way of harm and vision in 
an inner pocket. 

That his fare had put on again a white coat 
which she had herself left in his cab whilst he 
waited for her outside the prison, had removed 
her veil, and by his suggestion had walked 
sedately alongside the canal to the cab-stand 
there, and driven off in the direction of Baker 
Street, he felt were details safer in his knowledge 
than in that of the inspector ; likewise the 
minor detail that the cabby felt certain he had 
recognized the lady, and could ascertain an 
address to call at if the promised fiver did not 
arrive in due coia-se. 

Yardley and Parkyns held a rapid consulta- 
tion. The odds seemed overwhelming that 
Mrs. Meysey was making the best of her way 
back to Town, and her choice of Park Village 
left them convinced she was simply avoiding 
Albany Street, and would emerge from Osna- 
burgh Street at Portland Road Station. Rapidly 

270 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

driving to that point, they hung about for a 
long time on the chance of intercepting her, 

"Parkyns," at last said Yardley, "here we 
are looking for a girl in a nurse's cloak. Now, 
nurses don't leave their cloaks in cabs ; they 
always wear them. Mrs. Meysey had a sailor 
hat on at HoUoway. Do you imagine any 
woman would wear a sailor hat and a niu'se's 
cloak for more than a few minutes ? Had the 
nurse you saw got a sailor hat on ? " 

"No. I remember her veil streaming out 
behind. She was wearing an ordinary nurse's 
bonnet. Yardley, I believe we've been spoofed 
again. What a holy pair of duffers we are 1 
God, m get that cabby something to remember." 

"I don't see more in view than furious 
driving for him, old man, and you mark my 
words, he'd be defended by Tempest. Those 
big barristers just make rings round the stipen- 
diaries when they lay their minds to it. Take 
my advice, Parkyns, and leave the man alone. 
We don't want to advertise any more of our 
feilures." 

As it proved, Parkyns had to, for the 
numbers on both cab and badge, when investi- 
gated, proved to be of no assistance towards 
identification of cab or driver. 

The two detectives parted, going their several 

271 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

ways. Each had an idea, but now neither would 

run the risk of admitting another mistake, even 

to the other. Yardley had picked up a paper 

from the floor of the lady's cab whilst Parky ns 

and the cabby had held their argument upon 

the pavement. He had seen it was merely a 

tradesman's bill without a name, and had, whilst 

pocketing it in case it might be useful, paid but 

little attention to it. He now examined it, and 

saw it was a bill of Swan and Edgar's for the 

sum of 2s. 1 1 J^., but puzzle over it as he liked, 

he could not decipher the marks which indicated 

what the purchase had been. Of course he was 

by no means certain the bill belonged to Mrs. 

Meysey, but there was distinctly the chance that 

it might, and he at once turned his steps towards 

Piccadilly Circus. 

On explaining matters to the manager, the 

latter took Yardley to the girl who had made 

out the bill. She at once recognized it and 

produced her own counterfoil, explaining that 

her hieroglyphics were intended to convey the 

fact that the purchase was a sailor hat. The 

girl further pointed out her memorandum on 

the bill that a five-pound note had been tendered 

in payment. The note, when examined, was 

found to bear the endorsement " E. Meysey." 

Yardley knew he was on the right track at last 

272 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

The girl described the lady as tall and slight 
and exceedingly good looking, and wearing a 
blue serge tailor-made costume, and over it a 
three-quarter length loose white serge coat. She 
had brought a thick, dark veil with her, and left 
the shop wearing it. 

"Did she arrive without a hat?" asked 
Yardley. 

" No ; she was wearing a very expensive 
one, and left it behind, saying she would call 
for it. It is still here," added the girl. 

Yardley asked to see it, and noticed it bore 
the name of ** Elise." By the permission of 
the manager, the girl, carrying the hat, accom- 
panied Yardley to the shop of Madame Elise. 
The forewoman admitted the hat had been 
made at their establishment, but sai4 that as it 
was a model it had probably been bought for 
cash and taken away at the time. They would 
have no record in their books of to whom it 
was sold, nor did they know the name of Mrs. 
Meysey. They had duplicated that model 
many times, but she believed that one was the 
original hat, but she could not be certain. The 
cost of such a hat would be eight or ten guineas, 
according to the date at which it was bought. 
The model was less than six months old. 

Yardley telephoned for Craven, his assistant, 

273 s 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and arranged that he should wait at Messrs. 
Swan and Edgar's until the hat was called for, 
and immediately began himself to make in- 
quiries in order to try to trace the banknote which 
had been tendered in payment for the sailor hat. 

Craven stayed on in Swan and Edgar's shop. 
At last, just before the shops were closing, a 
lady, heavily veiled, came to the counter and 
asked for the hat she had left there in the 
morning. Craven from his point of observa- 
tion had heard the question, and knew the game 
was now in his own hands. 

Pretending to unpack the box to ensure there 
had been no mistake about the hat, the assistant, 
however, leant over the counter as she repacked 
it, and said in a low voice to the lady she was 
serving — 

" Don't look round or be surprised. I like 
you, so I warn you that the man by the door is 
a detective, and has been told to follow you 
home. If you want time to think, ask to see 
some ribbon, and I'll fetch it." 

Her customer never moved a muscle of her 
face, but gladly took the girl's hint, and thus 
gained time to collect her ideas. In a few 
minutes she had thought out a plan of action, 
and, leaving the shop by the Regent Street door 
to avoid giving the man the chance of a close 

»74 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

scrutiny of her face, she took a cab, and in 
the hearing of Craven shouted the direction, 
570, Chiswick High Road. She knew she was 
not likely to be arrested, so she told the driver 
to take his own time. From Chiswick she 
drove to Twickenham, and back by way of 
Richmond and Hammersmith. She then ex- 
plained matters to the cabman, told him to 
dodge the other cab if he could, and to arrive 
at the Empire Theatre at about half-past ten. 
The cabby was no fool, but neither was the one 
who was following, and no matter how con- 
stantly the one twisted his course and returned 
on his tracks, he was quite unable to give the* 
other cab the slip before the theatre was reached. 

"Never mind, cabby; you did your best. 
Here's your fare. Now I want you to wait for 
me. Wait on the other side of the road by the 
railings. I dare say I shall be half an hour." 

Paying for admission to the five-shilling 
promenade, she entered the theatre, with Craven 
at her heels. Keeping her veil down, she 
lounged about till she saw a girl about her own 
height and figure. She went and stood next her. 

" Keep quiet," she said ; " I want to speak to 

you. Don't take any notice of me. Move 

away in a moment, and after a bit go into the 

ladies* cloak room. I'll pay you well." 

275 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

A few minutes later they met in the doak 
room, and the one explained matters to the 
other. 

" I am wanted as a witness in a murder trial, 
and I don't want to give evidence. A detective 
is here watching me, and intends to follow me 
home to find out my address. Will you change 
clothes with me, go out, and let him follow 
you ? You'U find my cab waiting outside the 
theatre on the opposite side of the road ; it's 
got a piebald horse. Get in and drive home in 
a roundabout way ; mind you take at least an 
hour and a half over it. That will give me 
time to get away. You'll find an Elise hat I 
gave ten guineas for in the cab — you can have 
that and my clothes, and if you'll tell me the 
address I'll return yours, and I will pay you 
twenty pounds." 

The answer came promptly — 
" You're sure I shan't get into trouble ? '* 
" You may have some annoyance in proving 
you know nothing of the murder, but you can 
tell everything that happens here when you are 
in court. I know the barrister who is defend- 
ing, and I'll tell him everything, and he will see 
no harm comes to you. If they make you go 
into court, I'll pay you j^ioo. Really, it's only 



as a witness." 



276 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" All right ; if no harm can happen, it will be 
rather sport/* 

The exchange of clothes was quickly effected. 
As they were putting the finishing touches, 
another girl entered. 

" Here," remarked the last speaker, ** I know 
her ; she's as straight as they make 'em, and you 
can trust her. She loves a row with the police, 
and she's awfully hard up to-night. Ask her to 
go and find you one of her boys." 

In a few moments the new*comer was taken 
into their confidence, and entered into the plan 
with a wonderful zest. 

" Stay here a bit. I saw a boy I know, just as 
I came in. He's a medical student, and game 
for anything." In a few minutes she returned. 
** Now," she said, " the moment you go out, 
my boy, who's watching just outside the door, 
will come up and take your arm as if he had 
been waiting for you. He'll take you out; 
he wants to take you to supper. Now, are 
you ready ? " 

The door swung open, and the girls passed 

back into the promenade. First, a girl heavily 

veiled, in a sailor hat, blue serge costume and 

loose white coat, then came one in a glaringly 

dicollettie blue chiffon frock and hat, then 

another girl, in a black lace evening dress. 

277 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

As the first appeared and walked in the 
direction of the exit, Craven followed. The 
next had scarcely entered the promenade when 
a good-looking young fellow in evening dress 
took her arm, and they strolled off. 

Craven, seeing the girl he was following get 
into the cab with the piebald horse, chartered 
another, and, after a tiring drive, finally tracked 
her to earth in a street oflF the Fulham Road. 

The next day Yardley interviewed the lady. 
Acting under instructions, she accepted the sub- 
poena, but flatly declined to give him any infor- 
mation until she had consulted her solicitors. 

The other pair, after supper at Kettners', 
parted. 

"I cannot tell you," said the girl, "how 
deeply I am in your debt for having helped me 
as you have done to-night. I shall be grateful 
to you all my life, and, it things go right, I 
think my husband will be glad to make your 
acquaintance, when, perhaps, we may meet 
again on another footing." 

"Please don't say any more. Fve loved 

helping you — ^you're so charming. But it's 

been a screaming lark, dodging your detective, 

and I've enjoyed it immensely. I'd like to 

meet your husband, so perhaps I shall sec you 

again. Good night. Cabby, drive to Piccadilly 

278 



The D anger ville Inheritance 

Circus — the lady will tell you the address 
there." 

The boy*s consideration touched her, and 
years afterwards, when he would be one of the 
leading physicians in Harley Street, she meant 
to tell him why she had sent him the many 
patients she intended to do. 

Parkyns* idea had started from the very 
patent fact that Meysey could be earning but 
a very small salary. If his wife had money of 
her own she would be running an establishment, 
and Meysey would have a permanent home. 
The Union-Castle Company knew of no address 
in England other than that of his father's 
Warwickshire vicarage. If the lady, on the 
other hand, had not sufficient means, it was 
unlikely she could afford to pay ;^7 to a cab- 
man. The alternative was a clandestine mar- 
riage, and the probability was a marriage with 
a woman much above his own station in life. 
He was turning the matter over in his mind 
when he got back to his office. He had come 
to the conclusion that it was just possible that 
Meysey had married a relative of Lady Danger- 
ville, which, if it were true, would explain the 
attitude of the Countess to Yardley at their 

different interviews. It would also show some 

279 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

connection between Nevile and Meysey, for if 
Nevile were related to Lady Dangerville, he 
would be equally related to a sister of hers, and 
to some of her cousins. Parkyns knew Lady 
Dangerville had two sisters, and he felt he 
might profitably make some inquiries regarding 
them. He obtained a copy of a Peerage and 
turned up the family of the Duke of Aberfeldy. 
Yes, there was the eldest daughter, Averil Susan 
Cameron Douglas, and Lady Dangerville, and 
the youngest daughter. Beryl Margaret Mac- 
kenzie Douglas. He referred to the certificate 
of the marriage with Meysey to compare the 
age given therein with their dates of birth. 
To his amazement, he saw the age fitted Lady 
Dangerville, and then he noticed that her name 
was Veronica Elizabeth Smith Cunynghame 
Douglas. With trembling fingers, he opened 
his notebook and read over his two questions 
to Tempest. Then he understood. He sat 
there stupefied, for some time, by his discovery. 
**Then that's how she knew Yardley and me 
to-day." — " That's why she tried to get away." 
— "That's where her money came from." — 
"That's why she gave him the cuflF-links." 
Folding his papers and putting them methodi- 
cally away, he locked up his desk. He was 
beginning to see daylight. But, then, what did 

280 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

it all amount to ? The frantic mystery was all 
explained — why they had been baffled at every 
point. But, then, why should Meysey have 
killed Nevile because Meysey had married Lady 
Veronica Douglas ? Granted that Meysey *s 
letter to Nevile had reference to that lady, why 
should Meysey object to the scandal of Nevile*s 
attentions to her, whilst overlooking the glaring 
fact that his own wife had subsequently married 
Lord Dangerville, and was living with him as 
man and wife, and was the mother of Lord 
Dangerville's child ? Why didn't Meysey kill 
the Earl, rather than Nevile ? He must be 
aware his wife was passing as the Countess 
of Dangerville, or he could never have heard of 
the scandal connecting her name with that of 
Nevile. 

Nevertheless, he felt that his discovery had 
materially strengthened the case against Meysey, 
for the letter from Meysey to Nevile was now 
explained. 



281 



Chapter XX 



THE disclosure of the letter which 
Meysey had written from Madeira 
to Nevile had been a great blow to 
Tempest. Meysey at once ad- 
mitted its authenticity, but declined to give any 
explanation of it. It was his obstinate silence 
on this, as on all other points, that nearly drove 
the barrister to despair. His client seemed to 
be utterly indifferent as to what the result of 
the trial might be. 

Without assistance from Meysey, Tempest 
felt he must rely on his own efforts ; and, as 
far as those had been directed to the elucidation 
of the crime, he had absolutely failed. His last 
and only resource lay in his ability to break 
down the prosecution under cross-examination, 
or by the dissection of its evidence. On 
those lines he felt confident he could bring 
about the result he wanted if he saw half an 
opening ; but he had thought of no loophole 
up to that time. 

He was sitting in his chambers the evening 
following Craven's pursuit round the West 
End after the mysterious Mrs. Meysey, 

smoking and busily thinking over the evidence 

283 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

which was arrayed against him, that had been 
akeady collected by the other side, or that 
might come out during the course of the trial, 
then only some ten days ahead. 

At last he rose from his chair, and crossed 
the room to help himself to a whiskey-and-soda. 
As he did so, his servant came in with a copy of 
The Globe^ which he had been sent out to 
purchase. Leisurely turning the pages. Tempest 
commenced to scan the column headed " To- 
day's Parliament," till he came to a question 
asked by an Irish member. 

"*Did the Chief Secretary for Ireland fed 
that he could take the action which had been 
suggested to him in regard to the dismissal of 
one of his secretaries ? ' 

" The Irish Secretary (Lord Dangerville) rose 
and briefly replied that he considered his sub- 
ordinate had done his duty, and done it well, 
and he had not the faintest intention of recom- 
mending his dismissal. 

" ^ Might I ask the further question, whether 
the Chief Secretary has received the letter 
which I sent him privately this afternoon, and 
whether his answer has been given in the face 
of that letter ? ' 

" Lord Dangerville rose a second time with 

studied deliberation, and stood at the table a 

283 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

moment or two, gazing at the occupants of the 
benches round him. Instinctively the House 
hushed, for it was evident there was something 
afoot. In low but penetrating tones, he com- 
menced to speak. 

" * I have received the letter, but I do not 
propose to permit it to influence my official 
actions.* Drawing himself to his fiill height. 
Lord Dangerville continued, *I will not be 
blackmailed into discharging a competent and 
trustworthy servant. Before I resume my seat, 
I think this House would be the better for 
something in the nature of a personal explana- 
tion from myself. I am within the recollection 
of the House when I say that on several 
occasions considerable pressure has been brought 
to bear by the Irish Party to secure the dis- 
missal of a certain official, who, by fearlessly 
enforcing the law, without favour or relaxation 
for anybody, has unfortunately made himself 
peculiarly obnoxious to many of the law- 
breakers who pose as an Irish political party. 
I have unhesitatingly refused. Yesterday I 
received a letter from the member who has 
addressed this question to me. He marked 
the letter " Private," but the House will, I think, 
justify my action by its approval when I totally 

disregard that superscription. The writer has 

284 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

become aware of a certain scandal, as no doubt 

he will term it, affecting my family and myself, 

and also my position in this House. I was 

unaware that there was a soul alive save one 

person who knew the facts. Within the last 

few hours I have ascertained that that person, 

who has had many reasons shown her for 

gratitude to my family, was the mother of the 

hon. member. The scandal I refer to was not 

originated by myself, was not of my planning ; I 

have been but the innocent tool of the revenge 

of another person. I have not defrauded a 

soul of one penny piece, but I cannot deny 

that I have been of late years a consenting 

party to the continuance of that scandal, if 

scandal it be, and such as it is. The more 

important of the facts appear to have come into 

the possession of the hon. member, who has 

acquainted me with his knowledge of them, 

and has had the audacity to make to me in 

writing the offer that he will remain silent if 

I will concede to him the party advantage of 

having secured the dismissal of the gentleman 

in question. I can only say, I decline point 

blank. The hon. member, in that event, 

threatened me with exposure and threatened to 

hound me out of Parliament, but I choose to 

deprive him of that pleasure by admitting that 

285 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

I am not Lord Dangerville, and by saying at 
once that I have sent in an application for the 
Chiltern Hundreds. The hon. member can 
make what exposures he choses.* 

" In the midst of an awed and hushed silence, 
tense with the curiosity of a wondering House 
unable to imagine what would come next, the 
Irish Secretary concluded, * This is consequently 
the last occasion upon which I shall be able to 
exercise the inestimable privilege of speaking in 
this House, but before I go hence, this much 
I claim, that I have done my part in the service 
of the Crown and of His Majesty fearlessly, 
and that therein I have nothing to regret, 
nothing to be ashamed of; and I have this 
unction to myself to salve the blow I must 
accept, that high as has been the price, and big 
as has been the bribe which has been offered 
me, I have been able, under the mercy of God, 
to put aside the temptation to do a scandalous 
piece of jobbery that I personally might 
benefit.* 

** Gathering his papers together, and with a 
slight bow, he left his place and passed through 
the doors of the House." 

Tempest was stupefied. He read carefully 

to the end of the extract, and tossed the paper 

aside. 

a86 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Then it must all come out now. Ye gods, 
what a scandal it will be 1 " 

He sat there for a few brief moments. But 
it was one of the few things he really prided 
himself upon, that when the necessity arose he 
could make up his mind at once. He was not 
at fault on this occasion, and in a few minutes 
he was hurrying along the Strand to Yardley's 
chambers. 

**Yardley," he cried, as he burst in un- 
announced into the other's sitting-room, " you 
must come with me at once." 

« Whatever's up ? " 

" Have you read what's happened in Parlia- 
ment to-night ? " 

" Yes ; it's rather a facer for my noble client, 
isn't it ? I think it partly explains the anony- 
mous letters. But what's the trouble for you ? " 

"Simply this, that if the whole facts come 
out — and God knows how soon they will now ; 
it can't be more than a matter of hours — and 
Nevile's death isn't properly explained at once, 
there's motive enough to hang both Meysey 
and the Countess. We've got to unravel the 
mystery first, or it will go hard with them. 
Do you hear ? we've got to. It's just a race 
against time. Lord, how I wish I had gone 
into it thoroughly at the beginning 1 ** 

287 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

" What do you want to do now ? Surely 
it*s pretty clear Meysey is guilty. Tempest, 
you can talk till all's blue ; the key to the 
mystery lies with Meysey*s wife. You say you 
know her ; why don't you get the truth out of 
her, somehow ? We can't get anything from 
her. Parkyns and I nearly got her at HoUoway 
yesterday, only when we finally caught her cab 
up it was empty. Then I got on her track 
again, and Craven chased her all round London, 
but he ran her to earth at last. I saw her this 
morning, but she's like Meysey, she won't say 
a word. I'm certain Meysey's guilty, though." 

" Yardley, you are all quite wrong again ; 
but still never mind that. I want that room of 
Nevile's searched again — ^we may have missed 
something which will give us the clue. It's 
only a forlorn hope, I know, but we've got 
nodiing but forlorn hopes left to go upon, if 
we are to get at the truth and get Meysey off. 
I'm still the tenant of the room ; I've got the 
key, so nobody can have been in since, and it 
will be just as we left it." 

The two men were quickly in a hansom, 
driving to Warwick Gardens. 

" Tempest, I suppose you know the whole 
story of this Dangerville business ; what is it ? '* 
said Yardley. 

988 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

The other turned in the cab to face him, as 
he answered — 

"There are precious few things, Yardley, 
that I wouldn't tell you in confidence, and be 
quite content after I had done so, but this I 
can't. I don't know yet what will happen. 
Probably everything will be known, but they 
may decide to keep part of it back, and if it 
turns out that they do, then I should have 
betrayed a client's confidence very badly by 
telling you." 

** I suppose it's illegitimacy or a substituted 
child," said Yardley. 

But the barrister never answered. 

The landlady protested at the lateness of 

the hour they had chosen for their visit, and 

grumblingly admitted them to the house. 

Tempest unlocked the room, and, lighting the 

gas, the search began. Inch by inch Yardley 

carefully went over the room and all it contained, 

and then passed to the bedroom to examine 

that. If his examination had been thorough 

on the first occasion, it was doubly so on this 

second attempt. And all the time Tempest 

sat, hour after hour, in his favourite attitude, 

swinging himself gently backwards and forwards 

on the hind legs of the chair he was sitting on, 

and smoking cigarette after cigarette till the 

289 T 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

room was thick and hazy with the smoke. 
Right through the night the examination con- 
tinued, and the dawn was creeping in through 
the Venetian blinds when Yardley rose from 
his knees and straightened his back. 

"Well, Tempest, Fve told you, point by 
point, as Tve noticed everything that might 
help, and I don't see that we are an atom 
further ahead. Oh, don't smile like that ; you 
and this case between you will drive me mad." 

** Yardley, I think I've got to the bottom of 
it — there's only one link missing in all my chain 
now. I may, perhaps, think out that link, but 
I expect it's really something we've still got to 
find. Still, it ought to turn up when I make 
inquiries in the right quarter." 

"Tempest, you've sat there like a little tin 

Buddha all night, smiling at something — God 

knows what ; at me, I dare say. I expected 

every minute to turn round and see you 

sitting cross-legged, and you let me slave away 

to no purpose through this ghastly business all 

the blessed night, while you sat there chuckling 

and thinking — that's what you call it, isn't it ? 

— ^and then coolly tell me at the end you've 

found it out, and my time and trouble have all 

gone for nothing. Good God ! man, why the 

devil couldn't you get your infernal thinking 

290 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

done sooner and save us all this worry and 
trouble, and why couldn't you do it at 
home ? " 

Tempest smiled the tolerant smile of the 
man who knows to the man who doesn't. 

" Don't get riled, Yardley ; you are altogether 
wrong. Directly you started you found out 
that the sash-line of the sidelight in the window 
was broken, and the cord jammed. It's all 
come from that. Now why didn't you notice 
that the last time we were here ? " 

" What on earth are you driving at ? " 

"Never you mind for the present. I like 
my stories to be complete before I shout. 
This may fall through even yet, but I don't 
think it will. But, Yardley, there's one little 
thing I've noticed myself whilst you've been 
searching." 

'' What's that ? " 

" You've missed something. I don't suppose 
it's of the very smallest importance, or I would 
have gone and examined it myself. I've been 
simply interested and surprised you should 
have missed it, because you've examined every- 
thing else so thoroughly." 

" Well, what is it I've missed ? " 

Tempest laughed. 

" Why, the spill vase." 

agx 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

"Oh Lord, what do you expect to find 
there ? " 

" Nothing ; only you didn't examine it.*' 

•* Well, I soon will ; ** and he emptied the 
contents on the table : a reel of cotton, some 
pins, a small piece of sealing-wax, and four 
paper spills, one burnt a little at the end, as if 
it had been lighted and then extinguished. 

" Not much there," said Yardley. 

Tempest idly picked up one of the spills 
and unfolded it. He stared at it ; then he un* 
folded the remainder and pieced them together, 
and was then able to read the letter Nevile had 
received from Topping and Spindler. 

" Yardley, I think this is the link I wanted ; " 
and he put the letter into his pocket 



292 



Chapter XXI 



AN urgent telegram to Paris brought 
the Duchess of Merioneth back 
to London post haste, and that 
evening a dinner-party of four, 
Lord and Lady Dangerville and the Duchess 
and Tempest, were gathered together at 
Cavander House. Yardley came in afterwards, 
hurrying back from another case which had 
called him far afield during the day. They had 
waited his arrival, and then Tempest began to 
speak. 

"I may be wrong, but I thought it better 
that those of us who have been concerned 
in this matter should all meet to hear the 
explanation. It*s a weirdly strange story ; 
it's all tangled up with lots of other things, 
but you have to know everything to under- 
stand it. I'd have liked Meysey and Sorrel 
to have heard it at the same time, but un- 
fortunately they have engagements elsewhere 
of which we must relieve them at the earliest 
moment. 

**One must begin at the beginning. Lady 
Dangerville, and I'm afraid the beginning — not 
the cause, of course, but the first link in the 

393 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

chain — is your flirtation with Captain Nevile 
and the notoriety it obtained." 

" I never did flirt with him. He was my 
cousin." 

" I know that you didn't, but you let other 
people think you did. It wasn't wise. 

" Then Captain Nevile gets hold of Finality, 
finds out how good she is, and backs her to 
win altogether about ;^8 0,000, of which he was 
to receive )^ 15,000 from Dick Sorrel, and 
j£ 50,000 from Topping and Spindler, and 
^10,000 from Parr. 

"He gets hard up — how hard up I don't 
think we quite know, but he sticks to Finality. 
The trainer hinted that if Captain Nevile didn't 
pay his account Finality would not run, and at 
the same time Gordon, to whom Nevile owed 
a good deal of money, became pressing. I 
found that all out from Gordon's letter-books 
at his oflice. I needn't go into minute details, 
but it was life and death, touch and go, to 
Nevile. He had to have money or go under, 
and it was simply a wild, despairing effort on 
his part to hold on to Finality and to last out 
till the day of the Oaks. He came to see me 
himself, and told me some of his troubles, but 
not all. He only told me about Gordon, and 
I gave him a hint how to keep Gordon at 

294 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

arms' length till Finality's race was over. But he 
had to find ready money for his trainer some- 
how, and he appears to have blackmailed you, 
Lady Dangerville. What argument he used I 
don't know, and can only guess from your 
reply to him. Anyhow, you sent him the 
money, and then you had to get the money 
yourself. Yardley has found out where the 
money came from. May I go on ? " 

" Yes ; it doesn't matter now." 

" You asked Lord Dangerville for it, and he 
refused point blank, because he said Nevile had 
bled him enough, and he didn't like your con- 
nection with Captain Nevile, and wanted it 
dropped. Lord Dangerville declined to believe 
that Nevile knew enough to be dangerous, and 
would not accept your view. You yourself 
were frightened of Nevile and of the scandal 
he threatened, and thought he knew a great 
deal more than he did, and you pitted 
your judgment against your husband's and 
decided Nevile must be paid ; so you pawned 
your diamonds to raise the money without 
your husband's knowledge, and sent the 
money to Nevile, and that was how he paid 
his trainer and held out till the day of the 
Oaks. But to raise the money to redeem 
the diamonds, you — if you will excuse my so 

39s 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

putting it — extorted it by threats from Lord 
Dangerville." 

** Good Lord ! then it was you, Veronica, 
who wrote those letters to me ? " put in Lord 
Dangerville. 

"Yes, dear, I did. I knew Nevile would 
talk if he didn't get the money. You wouldn't 
believe me, and I knew the money itself 
wouldn't matter in the least to you. Even 
now I am sure I was right. I had to get it 
somehow." 

"I wonder I never guessed it. Well, I 
don't bear malice, dear ; " and, taking Lady 
Dangerville's hand, he squeezed it in his own 
as Tempest went on talking. 

"Yardley, when he sends in his formal 
report. Lord Dangerville, I suppose, will tell 
you how he found that out. Personally, I 
think he did it rather cleverly. Well, Nevile 
hung on till the day before the Oaks, when 
things began to happen. He stood to win a 
certain amount from Parr, who was gazetted 
a bankrupt two days before the race. I've no 
doubt Nevile heard of that, and it would be a 
heavy blow. Then he stood to win ;C 15,000 
from Sorrel. Now, Dick Sorrel has told me 
fully and frankly everything as far as he is con- 
cerned. He had been having a simply awful 

296 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

time the whole of the season. He had got 

a good many bets against Finality, but, quite 

apart from the others, he could no more have 

paid Captain Nevile alone, if Finality won, 

than he could have flown. But there is always 

a glorious uncertainty about racing, and, * dead 

certainty* as Finality was considered, there 

was always the chance she would not win. If 

Finality won. Sorrel knew his days in the Ring 

would be over, and his credit and reputation 

gone absolutely. It was beyond his power to 

safeguard himself, for he had taken such heavy 

bets ; but if she lost, he meant to make a big 

profit. That was his only chance, and he 

decided to take it, and so the day before the 

race he betted heavily on Gay Girl and laid 

against Finality, simply on the chance that she 

would lose. He never reckoned, or even 

thought of the possibility, that she would be 

disqualified. That is his account, and I must 

say I believe him. He had no money to bet 

with on the Thursday, and he went that day to 

Gordon, to whom he was then heavily in debt, 

to try to raise enough to bet as usual at Epsom 

on the Friday. Gordon told him to call for 

the money first thing in the morning. Now 

I think I've sketched the situation pretty 

clearly up to the Thursday night, and wc 

297 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

come to the Friday, the day of the Oaks. By 
then Nevile's possible winnings were practically 
whittled down to the ;^50,ooo he might receive 
from Topping and Spindler. Now, according 
to Mrs. Nevile*s account, she and her husband 
had a violent quarrel directly after breakfast, 
and she told him she intended there and then 
to leave him for good. She simply meant to 
collect one or two little things from the bed- 
room and go. Whilst she was in the bedroom 
the Jew came in, and he and Nevile appear to 
have had a row royal. Mrs. Nevile left the 
house in the middle of it, and never saw or 
spoke to her husband again, but she distinctly 
overheard Gordon tell her husband of the 
bankruptcy of the one bookmaker, and that 
Sorrel was not in a position to pay his bets if 
Finality won, but that he himself stood to net 
;^40,ooo in that case. Mrs. Nevile says she 
left the house whilst the two men were slang- 
ing each other, and I believe that every word 
of her story, as she told it to me at the 
beginning, is true and accurate. I know she 
told Yardley a very different story afterwards, 
but that was very plainly a pure piece of 
fabrication which she made up to deceive 
Inspector Parkyns and pay off a grudge she 

had against him, and pay off another she 

298 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

thought she had against you, Lady Danger- 
ville. But, as we know the facts are quite 
wrong upon which that story hangs, I think 
we can disregard the whole of it. At any 
rate, its possible effect now upon a jury doesn^t 
trouble me. Now, there is one important piece 
of news the police found out. Except the letter 
Meysey wrote from Madeira, and the cufF-link 
through which they brought him into it, though 
that was really Yardley's doing, I think it*s the 
only thing they did find out as far as Fve 
heard up to the present moment. A cabman 
who was passing, and who knew Gordon 
perfectly well by sight, swears positively that 
he saw the door of the house opened, and that 
a few moments later Nevile, who was a big, 
strong man, came to the door holding the Jew 
at arms' length over his head, and then simply 
pitched him down the five or six steps straight 
out on to the footpath. Nevile went in, 
slamming the door, and Gordon picked himself 
up, his face cut and bleeding, shook his fist 
after Nevile, and walked out of the gardens in 
the direction of Kensington High Street. Now, 
that is the last that is definitely known of 
Nevile, and the rest is deduction. But, in the 
face of the facts that have come to light, there 
is not the smallest room for any doubt as to the 

299 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

conclusion. The real truth is that Nevile was 
never murdered at all. He committed suicide/* 
It was a curious scene as Tempest made this 
announcement. Yardley was sitting in a big 
armchair by the fireplace. Most of what the 
barrister said was news to him equally with the 
others. But he was used to Tempest and his 
ways, and he had expected some such solution, 
and he neither stirred nor made any comment. 
The Duchess of Merioneth, at Tempest*s left 
hand, was all eager attention, listening with 
manifest pride and pleasure as she appreciated 
the cleverness with which her lover had worked 
out the solution. Lord Dangerville, at the 
opposite end of the table to the barrister, was 
leaning back in his chair, his shoulders hunched 
up, his face anxious and troubled, for he was 
worried about many things ; but Lady Danger- 
ville had placed her elbows far out on the table 
in front of her, and her beautiful face resting 
upon her hands, her eyes wide open with terror 
as to what the conclusion might really be, 
listened with a fierce intensity to every word 
Tempest uttered. As he announced the con- 
clusion he had come to, she sat upright with a 
heavy sigh of relief, and then the tears slowly 
gathered in her eyes and silently coursed down 
her cheeks. She tried to check them, but the 

300 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

efFort simply resulted in a series of choking 
sobs, and the Duchess, leaving her seat, passed 
to the other side of the table, and put her arm 
round Lady Dangerville's neck, and gently 
soothed her as one would a child ; whilst 
Tempest, in the same even voice, continued his 
story, 

" There can be no doubt about the suicide. 
The bedroom window was fastened on the in- 
side, the door from the bedroom to the hall 
was locked, and the key was in Nevile*s trouser- 
pocket. It's a spring latch, but it was also 
bolted on the inside. The door from the 
sitting-room to the hall was locked, and the 
key was in the door on the inside. That was 
proved at the inquest. The bay window from 
the sitting-room, looking to the road, has three 
lights ; two of these were fastened on the inside. 
Consequently, if Nevile were murdered, that 
only leaves the third light as a means of egress 
for the murderer. I have always thought that 
was the way the murderer got out, for it's very 
easy to step from the window-sill to the coping, 
which confines the tiled space in front of the 
house-door. It's only about twelve inches. 
But last night Yardley and I found out that 
the sash-lines of that side-light are broken and 

the cords jammed, and the window is jammed, 

301 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

and will not move up or down either top or 

bottom. I dare say it can easily be made to, 

but neither Yardley nor I could move it last 

night, using simply our own strength. They 

say at the house that the sash-lines were 

broken the day before the Oaks. Consequently 

it is impossible for any one to have left the room 

that way, and all other methods of egress are 

fastened on the inside. The only possibility of 

Nevile having been murdered, therefore, rests 

on the assumption that he was shot by some one 

from outside the window. But as the window 

is not broken, he must consequently have been 

shot through the four inches at the bottom, on 

the ground, that the window is jammed open. 

If he were shot that way the direction of the 

bullet must have been upwards^ whether Nevile 

were sitting down or standing up at the time he 

received the shot. It would not be easy to aim 

from such a position, so it would have had to 

be done whilst Nevile had his back to the 

window — he wouldn't stand still and watch 

whilst a man aimed at him. But as a matter 

of fact, Nevile was shot by a bullet which 

entered his forehead at the side, and, passing 

downwardsy lodged behind his ear, where it was 

found. The only possible explanation under 

the circumstances is that he shot himself. 

302 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Now, there are two arguments against that — 
the first is absence of motive, for Nevile would 
surely have waited till the afternoon to see if 
Finality won, when his money troubles would 
have been at an end ; and the second is the 
absence of the pistol in the room and its 
presence in Gordon's pocket. Nevile, I find, was 
right-handed. We found his body in a certain 
position. Supposing he were standing much 
about where his feet were when his body was 
found — that is, near the corner of the table — you 
will find he was so placed that he was looking 
across the table in the mirror over the fireplace. 
Now, it's a very curious point, but an over- 
whelming proportion of suicides do their final 
act in front of a mirror. Nevile was probably 
standing in front of the mirror when he shot 
himself — that is, with his back to the window. 
He would necessarily fall backwards as he did 
towards the window, and as we found him, and 
the revolver was in his right hand. His right 
arm was flung out as he fell, and stretched to 
within a few inches of the window, and the 
revolver would either remain in his hand or 
fall, and be found lying close to his hand — ^that 
is, close to the window. 

" Now, Yardley and I, when we were in the 
room last night, found a letter torn into spills 

303 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

in the spill vase. It was dated nearly two months 
previously, and addressed to Captain Nevile at 
his club. But there is one very curious little 
detail — it was not delivered to Captain Nevile 
till the morning of the Oaks. There can be 
no doubt about it, for in postmarking it, I 
suppose, after redirection to him at Warwick 
Gardens, it must have been hit very hard, for 
the indented impression of the postmark is 
plainly decipherable on the letter itself, with the 
date of the day of the Oaks. If further proof 
were necessary, we found the envelope with the 
corresponding postmark crumpled up in the 
fireplace. The letter is from Topping and 
Spindler at Flushing. They are the big turf 
commission agents, from whom Nevile expected 
to receive ;^50,ooo. Now, Mrs, Nevile assures 
me there was no foreign letter in the post that 
morning, so that Nevile received that letter 
after his wife had gone, and after Gordon had 
gone. That letter is the clue to the whole 
thing, for Topping and Spindler, as Nevile's 
dishonoured cheques had not been made good, 
warned him two months before the race that if 
he did not promptly discharge them they should 
close his account and wipe out all pending 
transactions. Now, that letter never came into 
Nevile's hands until the day of the Oaks, and 

304 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

it was then too late to do anything, and, conse- 
quently, even if Finality won, Nevile would 
not benefit at all. I don't think, try as I have 
done, I have been able to fully realize what 
such a blow must have meant to Nevile. He 
had hung on, waiting for the result of the race 
under most awful difficulties ; and at the very 
last moment he found he would not net a 
penny, whilst the Jew would win ;^40,ooo. 
Nevile had no earthly conceivable chance of 
pulling round, and I firmly believe he shot 
himself then — as we proved he did — before the 
race was run, in a last effi3rt to get even with 
Gordon, and prevent him winning, as Nevile 
could not win himself. There you have the 
motive. 

"Now, Lady Dangerville, did you know 
Nevile's address in Warwick Gardens ? '* 

" No, not then ; I always wrote to him at his 
club." 

" Yes, I thought that was so. Well, on the 
day of the Oaks you drove to the Cromwell 
Road end of Warwick Gardens, left your 
carriage there, and walked down the Gardens 
to No. 66 to inquire how Miss Strachan was. 
Fm curious to know why you didn't drive to 
the house." 

" Miss Strachan had asked me not to. She 

305 V 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

was not well ofF, and she said that she always 
got charged more if she had people calling on 
her in carriages. I'm sure it was only a fancy 
of hers ; but you know how old maids get 
fancies into their heads, and 1 just humoured 
her little whim. I was very fond of her. She 
used to be my governess. I heard, in a round- 
about way the night before, that she was ill, and 
went first thing the next morning, and found 
she was dead." 

" You stayed in the house some time." 
" Yes, I did. Her landlady was telling me 
about her illness, and then took me up to see 
the body." 

"Well, you appear to have written to Mr. 
Meysey, telling him the method in which 
Captain Nevile had blackmailed you. The 
letter must have met him at Madeira, for, 
anyhow, it was from there that he wrote to 
Nevile, practically inviting him to fight a duel. 
As Captain Nevile never replied to that letter — 
he couldn't very well, for he never saw it ; it 
was lying at his club — Mr. Meysey tells me 
that, without intending to let you know any- 
thing at all about his actions, he did go that 
morning to see Captain Nevile. He had got his 
address from the regiment. He tells me he went 

to try and force Nevile into going to France, or, 

306 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

failing that, he meant, so he says, *to put 
the fear of God into Nevile, even if he had to 
choke the life out of him to do it.* He saw 
and recognized your carriage at the end of the 
Gardens, and asked the coachman where you 
were. The man could only tell him you had 
gone down Warwick Gardens and into one 
of the houses. Meysey, who had never heard 
of Miss Strachan, jumped to the conclusion 
you must have gone to see Nevile, either 
to give him some more money or remonstrate 
with him or something. Just as he gets in 
sight of No. 68 he sees from a distance the 
Jew get up from his knees at the window, 
and at the same moment Meysey catches his 
walking-stick in his cuff and tumbles over it, 
and no doubt that was when he broke the 
litde chain between the two parts of his cuff- 
link. The Jew had gone down the road before 
he got to the house. Meysey swung open the 
gate — and probably as he did so shook out of 
his cuff the two broken pieces of his link — ^goes 
up the steps, and, as he is standing at the door 
about to ring the bell, glances at the window, 
and sees the dead body of Nevile lying there. 
At once he comes to the conclusion Gordon 
had committed the murder, and runs after 
him, just in time to see the Jew get into a 

307 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

hansom in the High Street at the end of the 
Gardens. 

" So it is evident Gordon came back a second 
time. He couldn^t, or at any rate didn*t, enter 
the house, but from the doorstep he could see 
Nevile lying dead, and the pistol by the window, 
and I've no doubt he stooped to pick up the 
pistol and then appropriated it, and that was 
what Meysey saw. The Jew couldn't have 
entered by the window, he couldn't have shot 
Nevile; the pistol was undoubtedly one that 
belonged to Nevile, the bullet which killed him 
fits it, and the pistol was found in Gordon's 
pocket. 

"So the Jew must have gone back to his 
office knowing that Nevile was dead, and have 
told Sorrel, and Sorrel goes to Epsom and bets 
against Finality, knowing perfectly well she can't 
possibly win. 

" Now, Meysey, when he saw it was hopeless 

to try to overtake Gordon, goes back by way of 

Earl's Court Road with the idea of intercepting 

you. Lady Dangerville. He is just too late to 

stop you, but recognizes you as you get into 

the carriage and drive away. Never for a 

moment dreaming you had been at a totally 

different house, he comes to the conclusion you 

must have been present at, or know something 

308 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

about, the death of Nevile, and be mixed up 
somehow in the mess, though he thinks Gordon 
is the murderer. He goes to sea that evening 
without seeing you again, and comes back to 
be confronted simultaneously with the accusation 
of having committed the murder himself, and 
with your telegram, which seems to him positive 
proof you know something about the affeir. 
For your sake he decided to say nothing at all 
till he knew exactly how matters stood. I saw 
him this morning, but it was not until I satisfied 
him that you had really been at another house 
all the time, and that Captain Nevile committed 
suicide, that I could get him to tell me what he 
knew. 

"Meanwhile you. Lady Dangerville, came 
out of No. 66, quite ignorant of everything 
that had happened at No. 68, and then you 
noticed in the gateway the broken half of Mr. 
Meysey^s cufF-link. You recognized it and 
picked it up, thinking, I suppose, to chaff him 
about it, but before you had the chance of so 
doing, you find, I suppose firom the papers, 
that Captain Nevile had been murdered that 
morning at that very house, and you knew Mr. 
Meysey had threatened to interview Nevile 
before he went back to sea, to put a stop to 
the blackmailing you were suffering. So you 

309 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

jumped to the conclusion that Mr. Meysey 
was concerned in the murder. Consequently 
you two have simply been playing a game of 
cross purposes when, if I had had two minutes* 
explanation with you both together, you 
would probably have put us all on the right 
scent. 

" Of course, as I told you just now, the 
police found the other half of the sleeve-link, 
and that was how they got on the track of 
Mr. Meysey. And that, I believe, is the 
complete explanation of the death of Captain 
Nevile.** 

Lady Dangerville hurriedly asked, " But will 
you ever get a jury to believe that ? Think 1 
Mr. Meysey writes that letter from Madeira — 
his cuff-link is found at the house." 

"Yes, I think so; because you must remember 

three things : that Nevile had an adequate, in 

fact an overwhelming, reason for committing 

suicide, and that, after receiving that letter from 

Topping and Spindler, suicide was the most 

probable thing to occur, and that being so, 

the whole perspective of the matter is altered. 

Then you must remember that it is absolutely 

impossible for the murderer to have left the 

room afterwards, and that he can't have been 

shot through the window. Oh, Til get 

310 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

Meysey ofF when the time comes, and Sorrel 
as well.*' 

There was silence in the room for some time 
after Tempest had finished. The barrister 
poured himself another liqueur, and, lighting a 
cigarette, relapsed into his accustomed attitude, 
gently rocking himself to and fro on the back 
legs of his chair. He was thinking, and the 
others knew he had stopped short of the final 
revelation which should key up into their true 
perspective the disjointed facts they all now 
knew. 

At last Lord Dangerville looked up and rose 
from his chair. 

"Veronica," he said, as he stood behind 
his wife, gently caressing one of her hands, 
" our little comedy's played out." Turning to 
the others he added, " Veronica, of course, is 
really the wife of Mr. Meysey ; her child is his 
child." 

The detective sat up straight in his chair. 
He was the only one present who didn't know. 

" But — but — your marriage ? " 

" Mr. Yardley," said Lord Dangerville, " it 
might almost do for a breakfast-table problem. 
I am my father's daughter, and not his son. 
He never read the settlement of his own estates, 
or he would have known what I only knew 

3" 



The Dangerville Inheritance 

yesterday, that it didn't matter whether he had 
a daughter or a son. Either would get the 
property before my cousin, and it was only to 
spite my step-brother and my cousin that my 
father ever got married the second time/* 



THE END 



A DETECTIVE STORY 

THE DANGERVILLE 
I N H E R ITAN CE 

By a. C. FOX-DAVIES, Barrister-at-Law 

Crown 8vo, 6s. 
PRESS OPINIONS 

Morning Post, — *'Mr. Fox-Davies has written a detective story 
of which Gaboriau might have been proud." 

Academy.—** For the lovers of Sherlock Holmes, 'The Danger- 
ville Inheritance' will be a fine detective story; but as an unusual 
drama of human life, and as an excellently told history, it will have a 
more discriminating audience." 

Truth, — '* A detective story with a distinctly original and ingenious 
plot . . • Mr. Fox-Davies provides a quite unexpected solution of 
the whole puzzle." 

Glasgow Herald. — ** A genuine detective story ought to be able to 
baffle not only its characters, but also its readers, and there is no 
doubt that 'The Dangerville Inheritance' amply fulfils this con- 
dition. The mystery is a mystery that remains unsolved up to the 
last page, and even then will come as a surprise to most. It is 
admirably worked up, never straining after the impossible, but 
following out calmly and deliberately the sequence of events. . . . 
The author has to be congratulated on producing an able work 
which, while never overstepping the bonds of probability, ingeniously 
contrives to keep the readers interest keenly from start to finish." 

Liverpool Courier — " The sensational novel of the season. . . . 
We are lost in amazement at the ingenuity with which the author 
manages to unravel the apparently inextricable threads of his story. 
. . . The whole mystery is only revealed in the last three or four 
sentences, and the solution is so daring and unexpected that it 
almost takes one's breath away. Altogether it is a remarkably 
clever, ingenious, and exciting story, and we can confidently predict 
for it a great vogue." 

Sketch, — '• Mr. Fox-Davies has taken elaborate pains to see that 
every piece of his puzzle is perfect in detail, and has fitted the whole 
together with enormous ingenuity as a detective story of unusual 
strength and skill." 

Morning Leader, — "This novel, by virtue of a natural style or 
rapidity or a clever plot, holds and keeps the reader's attention 
glued to every page." 

Daily Graphic, — "A first-class detective story, removed from the 
usual run of such works by a neat style and by a first-hand 
acquaintance on the part of the author with gaming and criminal 
law. . . . Very ingeniously the chief mystery of the novel is so 
interwoven with the attempt to find the clue to a murder that only 
the last page reveals the secret." 



A DETECTIVE STORY 

THE DANGERVILLE 
I N H ERI TA NCE 

By a. C. FOX-DAVIES, Barrister-at-Law 

Crown 8vo, 6s. 
PRESS OPINIONS-^ew//»«^^ 

Scotsman, — "To reveal what Mr. Fox-Davies unfolds in the last 
chapter would be to deprive readers of that genuine treat — the 
elucidation for themselves of a fascinating and thrilling mystery. 
. . . Few more clever criminal mjrsteries have been evolved from 
the brain of a novelist than this story of *The DangerviUe 
Inheritance.' " 

Observer. — "Once the first chapter is read, one's interest is 
absorbed till the very end. It really is a very racy tale." 

Glasgow News, — The book is ingeniously constructed, and its 
interest well sustained." 

Church Family Newspaper, — " Distinctly successful. . . , A good 
and excellent piece of work. The mystery is an original one, the 
return of events is carefully and firmly woven, and the whole case is 
reasoned with dexterity and skill." 

Sporting Times, — "The interest is sustained firom start to finish, 
and as a detective story it is most excellent." 

Bristol Times and Mirror. — "Full of excitement and intense 
interest. The plot is an unusual one, as is also the ending. . . , 
Many people will thoroughly enjoy this extraordinary tale." 

Manchester Courier. — " The reader who fancies that he can solve 
mysteries will imagine over and over again that he anticipates the 
end, and over and over again he wiU be, not disappointed, but 
mistaken. Constructive skiU is accompanied by literary ability, 
and the novel is altogether a notable effort." 

Dundee Advertiser,^* ^Tht tale is very fascinating." 

Newcastle Chronicle, — "A narrative which is very ingeniously 
woven. The most acute reader will hardly guess the solution of 
the mystery — not even until the last line of the last chapter. One 
of those books that one reads at a sitting and is pleasurably 
remembered afterwards." 

Daily Telegraph, — "A detective story which takes our interest 
from the first ... the story is one that once begun must be 
finished." 



NEW FICTION 



THE STRONGEST PLUME. By Hugh de 

SiLiNCOURT, Author of **A Boy's Marriage/' Crown 
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*0* This is a story of a girl who gradually comes to see that 
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marriage. She touches life at its very heart, and gains at last 
the courage from her experience of life and death to stand by 
herself without the props of convention which help the weak as 
much as they bruise, and by bruising madden the strong. The 
title cfthe novel is taken from the novets motto, and thai is^^ 
The strongest plume in wisdom* s pinion 
Is memory of past folly. 

A BOY'S MARRIAGE. By Hugh de S«lin- 

COURT. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

Evening Standard,'^**^ Exceedingly realistic . . . but does not give the 
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Daily Telegraph. — "A very proper, legitimate, and highly interesting 
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Aiheneeum. — "The best points in Mr. de S^incourt's novel are his 
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Mr. Sidney Dark, in Z7at;(fjS'jr>yvxj.—" A strikmg study. . . .The book 
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Bystander, — "The story is charmingly written, and well characterised, 
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Tribune, — "Mr. de S^incourt has written an extremely good story of 
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Liverpool Post — " The book is clever. . . . Mr. Punshon can draw men 
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Mom\ng Leader, — "The book is distinguished by high qualities of style, 
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A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 

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reading." 

JOHN LANE, The Bodley Head, Vigo Street, London, W. 






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